BUFFALO, N.Y. – Host Buffalo State College scored 20 points in each half enroute to a 40-24 Empire 8 Conference victory Saturday afternoon on their home turf over visiting Morrisville State College.
The loss drops the Mustangs to 0-3 overall, 0-2 in conference action, while Buffalo State moves to 2-1, 1-1 in the Empire 8.
The Bengals outgained Morrisville State in total offensive yards on the day, 474 to 394, including a 219 to 104 outing in the running game.
A majority of the Mustangs offense came in the passing game as Morrisville State accumulated 290 yards through the air. Cory Benedetto (Rochester, N.Y.) went 15-for-30 in attempts for 115 yards before Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) came in and registered 175 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-25 attempts.
Marcus Jackson-Conner (Sodus, N.Y.) was the main target for the Mustangs quarterbacks, as he pulled in 14 catches for 172 yards. Joseph Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) caught Morrisville State's lone passing touchdown, finishing the day with four receptions for 49 total yards.
Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) led the Mustangs on the ground with 57 net yards and two rushing scores of 29- and three-yard runs, both in the third quarter.
Kendall Clarke (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced the defense with 10 total tackles, five solo stops, while registering one for a loss of four yards and two pass breakups. Sammy Diaz (Dansville, N.Y.) added nine, while breaking up three and blocking a kick.
Aaron Ertel went 15-for-28 for the Bengals in passing for 255 yards and two passing scores, while teammate Tre Jones collected 91 net yards on eight carries in the running game for Buffalo State. Stephen Johnson caught four from Ertel for 147 total yards and a score.
Darren Thompson and Bart Mazzara each were in double figures for the hosts in tackles, Thompson registering a team high 14 on 10 solo and four assisted stops.
Buffalo State opened with four straight scores across the opening two quarters, with their first coming on the opening drive on a 17-yard run by Dale Stewart in a three-play, 77-yard drive.
The Bengals added to their lead at 9:34 in the second with a 30-yard field goal by Marc Montana before Ertel connected with Johnson on a 66-yard pass play for the 17-0 host lead.
Montana registered his second field goal of the day with 1:57 remaining in the second quarter to extend the Buffalo State lead, putting the 22-yard attempt through the uprights for the 20-0 advantage.
Morrisville State went to work for the final two minutes of the half, putting together a 13-play, 60 yard drive that was capped off by a 28 yard Jeff Groth (Shelton, Conn.) field goal, sending the game into the half with a 20-3 Bengal lead.
In the third, Buffalo State's Ish Height extended the host lead to three scores, intercepting Benedetto and returning the ball 46-yards for the pick-six tally midway through the quarter.
Just over a minute later, Morrisville State's Edmond responded, breaking free from the Bengals defense on a 29-yard scoring scramble to make it a 27-10 ball game.
Edmond would again strike for the Mustangs as time ran out in the quarter, converting the 10-play drive into a touchdown on a three-yard run into the end zone, bringing Morrisville State within striking distance.
A 27-yard scoring pass from Gwinner to Faniel brought the Mustangs to within three with 8:47 to go in the fourth, 27-24, but Buffalo State posted back-to-back touchdowns to seal the conference victory and send Morrisville State home with a 40-24 defeat. One of the Bengals tallies came after a 53-yard interception return to deep within Morrisville State territory.
Morrisville State returns to the field Saturday, hosting Alfred University at 1 p.m. on Drake Field in Morrisville for the college's Mustang Weekend (homecoming) contest.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.