Quick Hits: Football outlasts Bridgewater State, 20-19

It wasn’t pretty but a win’s a win.

In a sloppy first game of the season, the Buffalo State football team won their season opener in a 20-19 decision to visiting Bridgewater State.

Running back Dale Stewart was the star with 91 all-purpose yards and touchdown in the win.

The Bengals scored the game winning touchdown on a Kyle Hoppy 34-yard pass to Ricky Bailey with seven minutes left. Darren Thompson put the nail in the coffin for Buff State as the sophomore leaped in air and came up with the interception on the Bears’ final drive.

Historic Day: Saturday marked the first ever meeting between the two teams. Bridgewater State is located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, about an hour south of Boston. The Bengals will make the 469-mile trip next year.

Special Teams Errors: Buffalo State is having some trouble replacing Marc Montana. The Bengals committed two penalties on the kick-off. Ryan Mutterer knocked the opening kick-off out of bounds resulting in the Bears getting favorable field position to start. Following the Bengals’ second score, Buffalo State was offside on the kickoff. Later in the first half, Mutterer fittingly ended a delirious drive for the Bengals when he mishandled the snap on the punt. He ended up running for his life and getting taken down at Bengals’ 21.

City Kids Shine: All three touchdowns were scored in at least in part by a player who grew up in a city in western New York. Stewart and Bailey are from Niagara Falls. Stephan Johnson went to McKinley in Buffalo. Thompson, who made the fourth quarter interception, is from the city of Buffalo and graduated from St. Joe’s in Kenmore, NY.

Halftime Stats: Hoppy was 4-7 for 65 yards through the air. Stewart carried the ball 13 times for 56 yards. Had Bryant lead the way with two catches for nine yards.

2016 records: Buffalo State (5-5, 3-5 Empire 8). Bridgewater State (8-3, 8-0 MSCAC). The Bears fell in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs to Empire 8 foe Alfred University in overtime.

Splitting Hairs: The Bears seem to still be looking for a replacement to last year’s starting quarterback Danny Higgins. Senior Jonathan Marreo and sophomore Stefano D’Emilia took turns leading the offense. It was the first real action for either D’Emilia who only threw one pass last year, and Marrero who did not take a snap in 2016.

Flag Fest: The pace of the game moved the slowest in the third quarter as penalties piled up. The Bears committed five penalties costing them 31 yards. Buffalo State were driven back 20 yards on two holding calls on the same drive. The series of flags continued into the fourth. Bridgewater State finished with 13 penalties for 90 yards.

Next: The Bengals have an early bye week before facing beginning their conference schedule against Morrisville State. Kickoff Sep. 16 at noon in Morrisville.