Bengals struggle on both sides; fall to Cortland, 38-12

For the second week in a row, the Bengals hurt themselves by turning the ball over.

Buffalo State turned the ball over four times in a disappointing 38-12 loss to Cortland in an Empire-8 matchup Saturday afternoon.

Heading into the week, the big question was if quarterback Kyle Hoppy, whose shoulder was bothering him, was going to play. Hoppy was in full uniform, but Bengals head coach Jerry Boyes wasn’t risking it.

Backup quarter back Kevin Torillo prepared non-stop all week in hopes to fill the void the injured Hoppy left, but wasn’t able to get the job done going 21-for-44 for 304 yards, throwing 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

Red Dragons’ tailback Johnnie Akins capitalized on a 12-play 77-yard drive with a 1-yard run up the middle for a touchdown, giving Cortland a 7-0 lead at the beginning of the first quarter. During a later drive, Steven Ferreira completed a 59-yard bomb to Alex Wasserman which led to a 32-yard field goal by William Holscher putting Cortland up, 10-0.

The offensive woes continued for Buffalo State in the second quarter.

Dan Appley recovered a fumble by Torillo, giving the Red Dragons great field position as they started the drive in the red zone. The Red Dragons took advantage as Josh Ramirez caught a 16-yard pass from Ferreira extending the Cortland lead, 17-0.

Torillo started to find his rhythm late in the second quarter. Ricky Bailey had a 39-yard reception to put Buffalo State in the red zone. The Bengals managed to get on the scoreboard when Torillo found Anthony Covington for a 5-yard touchdown. The Bengals continued to play to the tune of the game missing the extra point, 17-6.

Right before the half, Ferreira completed a 39-yard pass to Angelo Foster putting the Red Dragons in Bengals territory. Foster caught another perfectly thrown 39-yard pass for a touchdown, extending their lead.

At the half, the Bengals trailed 24-6.

The Bengals quickly pulled within two scores at the beginning of the second half, but the lack of third down conversations hurt the offense. The Bengals went 2-for-12 on third down on Saturday.

In the third, Torillo completed a pass to Stephen Johnson for 19 yards to start an offensive possession. On the next play, he found Jamar Rutledge for 9 yards. The Bengals handed the ball off to Dale Stewart, who hasn’t played since week 1 due to injury, on three consecutive plays, picking up 21 yards. The drive was capped off with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Johnson to cut the Cortland lead to 24-12.

Mark DeLuise continued to help the Cortland defensive dominance when he intercepted the ball at the Buffalo State 22-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter. Cortland pounded the ball down the field putting themselves in outstanding field position. Akins finished off the drive with a 2-yard run up the middle extending the Cortland lead, 31-12.

Cortland’s dominance didn’t diminish late in the game.

Brandon Lewis intercepted Torillo giving the Red Dragons a short field. Cortland continued to roll over the Bengals running the ball deep into the red zone. Akins sealed the deal forcing his way into the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run capping off a 38-yard drive to finish off the 38-12 victory.

Coach Boyes showed his love for his players when talking about the quarterback situation.

“I’m sure Kyle [Hoppy] was upset because he could have played, but when the doctors say he can be one hit away, I’m not going to sacrifice one of my sons getting injured.”

Buffalo State will head to Canton, New York next Saturday to match up against the St. Lawrence Saints for a 1pm scheduled kickoff.