Bengals’ keys to victory in colossal rematch with No. 15 Wisconsin-Whitewater

The Bengals take on No. 15 Wisconsin-Whitewater at noon on Saturday at Coyer Field.

Dave DeLuca

The Bengals take on No. 15 Wisconsin-Whitewater at noon on Saturday at Coyer Field.

The football team has an unblemished record through two games for the first time since 1999.

Thanks in large part to stellar offensive play, the Bengals enter week three on a six-game winning streak, dating back to 2012. But to keep their streak alive, the Bengals will need to overcome their toughest opponent of the year on Saturday. No. 15 Wisconsin-Whitewater is coming to town for a rematch of the biggest win in Buffalo State history.

The Warhawks have been one of the best Division III programs over the past decade and boast a strong defense. The Bengals will look to combat that defense with their white-hot offense.

Ahead of tomorrow’s big game, here are Buffalo State’s keys to victory over the powerhouse Warhawks:

1.  Dig deep defensively

-Pass defense continues to be Buffalo State’s Achilles heal. Two games in a row, the Bengals have given up 400 passing yards defensively. They have also given up two 100-yard receivers in each game this season. Before this season, the last time they had given up both a 400-yard passer and two 100-yard receivers in the same game was Oct. 6, 2012 against Utica. Coincidentally, this was also the last time the Bengals lost a game. The good news for Buffalo State is that Wisconsin-Whitewater is a team that traditionally relies more on the running game than the pass, and the Bengals have allowed just 207 yards on the ground so far. To come out of this game with a win, they will have to maintain their solid effort against the run, and do better against the pass when the Warhawks decide to throw it.

2. Spread the wealth

-The Bengals are averaging 498.5 yards of offense per game so far, and a lot of their success can be attributed to their ability to get everyone involved. Casey Kacz, Rich Pete and Ismail Brooks have all played a big part in the run game, and four players have at least five receptions on the year. Add to that the fact that Caesarae Lewis has a chance to return from injury on Saturday, and the Bengals have the weapons to answer pretty much anything the Whitewater defense can throw at them. Between the read option, speed option, screen plays, passes over the middle and bombs down the sidelines, the offense has the ability to attack in numerous ways. The Warhawks’ defense might be able to slow down the Bengals, but they won’t be able to stop them completely.

3. Protect the quarterback

-The biggest key on Saturday will be whether or not the Bengals’ offensive line can protect Kacz. He has demonstrated the ability to get the ball to his backs and receivers, and the propensity to create with his legs if his receivers aren’t open. The key is that he has had the time so far to stand in the pocket and make the right decision. The Warhawks had three sacks in their first game, so protecting the quarterback will be paramount for the Bengals. If Buffalo State can keep Kacz upright, he should be able to move the ball downfield against Whitewater.

Buffalo State and Wisconsin-Whitewater are scheduled to kick off at noon Saturday at Coyer field. Stay tuned to for stories throughout the weekend, and follow @bscrecordsports on Twitter for in-game updates and final scores from all campus teams.

Chris Dierken can be reached by email at [email protected] and on Twitter @cdierken