MORRISVILLE, N.Y.— Jamar Rutledge (Buffalo/McKinley) had 289 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 96-yard kick return, and Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) connected with Had Bryant (Bronx/Cardinal Hayes) for a 41-yard touchdown with 57 seconds remaining to lift Buffalo State to a 53-48 victory over host Morrisville State in today's Empire 8 season-opener.
FINAL SCORE: Buffalo State – 53, Morrisville State - 48
LOCATION: Drake Field, Morrisville, N.Y.
RECORDS: Buffalo State (2-0/1-0), Morrisville State (1-1/0-1)
INSIDE THE BENGAL BOX SCORE
- Rutledge had 206 yards on five kick returns, three catches for 64 yards and added a 19-yard scoring run.
- Hoppy finished 18 of 30 for 364 yards with three touchdowns.
- Stephen Johnson (Buffalo/McKinley) and Bryant both passed the century mark for receiving yards. Johnson had four catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Bryant caught seven passes for 121 yards and a score.
- Bart Mazzara (Lockport/Starpoint) finished with nine tackles, including three for loss.
- Paul Krowel (Amsterdam/BH-BL) had eight stops with a key sack, and Nicolas Calle (Brooklyn/Christ the King) added nine tackles.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Morrisville led 48-47 in the fourth quarter and assembled a 15-play drive that at 7:35, but on third-and-goal from the Buffalo State 5, Krowel came up with a sack, forcing fourth-and-goal at the 12. The Mustangs then failed to convert a pass and turned the ball over on downs with 3:35 remaining.
- Buffalo State worked the ball into Morrisville territory before Hoppy hit Bryant for the 41-yard winning score in the final minute.
- Morrisville attempted one final push, but Tiquan Simpkins (Syracuse/Henninger) came up with an interception on the final play of the game.
- The wild finish was a fitting end to a back-and-forth contest. The teams traded shots as points came early and often in the first half.
- After forcing a three-and-out on Morrisville's opening possession, the Bengals used a 58-yard touchdown pass from Hoppy to Johnson to take the early 7-0 lead.
- Morrisville answered just two plays later with a 4-yard scoring run by Nick Edmond, which he set up with a 73-yard scamper on the previous play. The Mustangs missed the extra point.
- Rutledge returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to give the Bengals a short field, and they took advantage pushing the advantage to 14-6 on senior fullback Anthony Covington's (Liberty/Liberty) first career touchdown run from nine yards out.
- Morrisville came back with a seven-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 2-yard scoring run by Brandon Gwinner to cut the return the deficit to one.
- After a Hoppy fumble on the Bengals' next play from scrimmage, Morrisville could not convert from the Buffalo State 17-yard line, turning the ball over on downs.
- Buffalo State was not out of the woods, however, as it would fumble again two plays later on its own 4, and Morrisville would punch it in with a 1-yard plunge by Gwinner on the first play of the second quarter to take a 20-14 lead.
- The lead would last just 14 seconds as Rutledge returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for the score to put the Bengals back in front, 21-20.
- After trading punts, Morrisville pulled ahead again on a 25-yard scoring pass from Gwinner to Joseph Faniel and after another missed extra point, the Mustangs led 26-21.
- The Bengals reclaimed the lead on their next possession with an 8-yard touchdown strike from Hoppy to Ricky Bailey (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) after Hoppy connected with Rutledge for a 37-yard gain earlier in the drive.
- Buffalo State was unable to hold the lead again as a third fumble, this time on a punt return allowed Morrisville to extend a late drive and eventually score on a 20-yard pass from Gwinner to Dajon Russell to take a 33-28 lead into halftime.
- Antoine Holloman (Brooklyn/Abraham Lincoln) opened the second-half scoring with a 1-yard run to put the Bengals in front, 35-33.
- Edmond secured his second rushing touchdown of the day on the next possession from 14 yards to put the Mustangs back in front, 40-35.
- The fireworks continued early in the fourth quarter with three touchdowns in a span of 3:30. The Bengals scored first on Rutledge's 19-yard run, but the Bengals failed a two-point attempt.
- Morrisville answered with an 18-yard catch by Raffaele Bradshaw from Gwinner, and then Gwinner's scoring run on the two-point conversion put the Mustangs up, 48-41.
- Buffalo State answered quickly again with Austin Neal (Buffalo/South Park) finding the end zone on an 8-yard run, but a missed extra point left the Bengals down 48-47 to set up the dramatic finish.
- The teams combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense. Buffalo State had 508, while Morrisville had 526, including 329 on the ground.
- Buffalo State lost the turnover battle with three fumbles, compared to just the game-ending interception.
FOR THE FOES
- Gwinner finished 14 of 30 for 197 yards with three touchdowns, and also had 158 rushing yards and two scores on 19 carries.
- Edmond also scored twice and totaled 154 yards on 21 attempts.
- Bradshaw had five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
- Rutledge's 96-yard touchdown was the Bengals' first score on a kick return since Dale Stewart (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) went 100 yards against Utica on Oct. 24, 2015.
- The 101 combined points were the most in a Buffalo State game since the Bengals defeated Hartwick, 59-42, in 2013.
Buffalo State will return to Coyer Field for a non-conference game against RPI next Saturday at noon.