#BENGALS brings the energy to Buffalo State athletic events

It was nearly simultaneous. Buffalo State’s football team had its back against the wall Saturday. Down 14-2, the RPI Engineers were looking to punch one in and grab a three-score lead in the first half.

And on came the men’s hockey team.

Some shirtless, some sleeveless, but all in Bengal pride as eight of them spelled out ‘#BENGALS’ with paint on their bare chest.

When the rowdy group arrived at Coyer Field, Buffalo State’s Bart Mazzara snatched an interception in the end zone and gave the Bengals the ball on their own 20.

Quarterback Kyle Hoppy and the team then drove the ball 80 yards. Austin Neal capped off the drive with a 12-yard run to put the score 14-9 with 6:02 left in the half.

The team looked energized as the orange and black bathed fans screamed as some blew their vuvuzela – a loud plastic horn.

“If you noticed, they weren’t there in the beginning of the game and when they showed up, it kind of gave us a little kick,” Hoppy said. “I really appreciated them showing up.”

The crowd changed and the vibe in the bleachers reflected that. As the college students roared, RPI’s fans reacted back as every play held its own bragging rights.

“When we arrived, they were on a drive and they ended up scoring,” freshman Braeden Doust, the ‘n’ in #BENGALS. “It was like a momentum changer.”

#BENGALS made an immediate and long-term impact on the game as Buffalo State outscored RPI 24-7 once they stepped on the bleachers. The Bengals came out with a 33-21 win over RPI.

“They come, they’re rowdy,” Mazara said, “They get the crowd going, they get everyone into it and that hypes us up when we are out in the field. That makes us want to perform. So, when they bring that atmosphere, it’s beautiful and we love it.”

The men’s hockey team came to the football game as part of the Bengals supporting Bengals cause.
Buffalo State athletics ask their athletes to attend other sport’s games.

“That’s the epitome of what I like to see at the college level,” Athletic Director at Buffalo State and football coach Jerry Boyes said. “That’s something we implemented a number of years ago in an effort to get our student athletes to support each other. It has been huge to us.”

The men’s hockey team was nothing short of full go. They could have settled with a poster, they could have settled with chants, they could have settled with just their appearance in the bleachers.

#BENGALS set the bar high for the football team when it’s their turn to go to the Buffalo State Ice Arena.

Hoppy couldn’t commit to going shirtless.

“We might have to do it if they keep showing up the way they did,” Hoppy said.

However, the lively Mazzara had no hesitancy when it came to home hockey games.

“Oh yeah, it will always happen every year,” Mazzara said.



Twitter: @Kuczkowski95