Football looking to use bye week to turn season around


Yomira Meregildo/The Record

The Bengals will begin the 2019 campaign on Saturday.

Zach Rohde, Sports Reporter

A bye week is a perfect opportunity for a team to regroup and to work on things that need to be fixed.

After a rough start to their 2018 season, the SUNY Buffalo State football team is hoping to use their bye week to do exactly that.

The Bengals are 0-2 this season, with a one-point loss at Bridgewater State and a not-so-close loss at Adrian College.

According to coach Jerry Boyes, the start to the season is “kind of a tale of two different games.”

“I would say that first game, you’re never happy with a loss, but I had no problems really,” Boyes said. “Our effort was great, we really were ahead throughout most of that ball game and then some youth mistakes caught up to us.”  

The loss to Adrian was a totally different story.

“Very disappointing,” Boyes said. “We gave up way too many big plays on defense and in the kicking game.”  

Buffalo State has flashed potential on both sides of the ball this season, but there is still work to do. Defensively, the bright spot has been the amount of takeaways they have caused, seven in total.

“For us, turnovers are huge,” junior defensive back Gino Bonagura said. “We look at turnovers as the best thing to get. That’s why we bring our gong everywhere, because we like letting teams know we’re coming for you, we’re coming for the ball and we’re going to be loud and cheerful when we get it.”  

The bye week has given the Bengals a chance to work through what Bonagura described as a “demoralizing” loss at Adrian.

“The toughest thing to do is to look at a game where you lost,” Bonagura said. “It’s easy to watch a game that you won to see all the good you do, but to go back there and say ‘okay that’s what I did and this is how I fix it and now let’s go out there and do it.’ That’s what the bye week did for us. We saw what we did wrong and every day we slowly got better at doing the little things.”

The best thing the defense worked on during the bye week was communication as a unit.

“Whether it’s a formation we’re coming out in, if it’s a check that were calling, etcetera, we communicate as a defense,” Bonagura said. “That’s the best thing that we’ve worked on.”

Buffalo State’s offense has put up an average of 28 points in the first two games, but senior quarterback Kevin Torrillo said the offense has been working on perfecting some plays that have given them trouble. They have also put a couple new plays in.

“Mainly focusing on fixing the mistakes that were made in the first two games so that they don’t happen anymore,” Torrillo said.

Coming out of the bye week, Buffalo State travels to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on Sept. 22. The game provides a measuring stick for the team.

RPI is 3-0 on the season and was No. 21 on’s rankings last week.

“We get a chance now to play an opponent that is ranked I believe in the top 20,” Boyes said. “They were an NCAA playoff team last year, so here we really get a chance to measure ourselves against a very good football team.”  

In the upcoming game against RPI, and moving forward through the rest of the season, putting together four good quarters of football will be important, offensively and defensively for Buffalo State.

“Both sides of the ball have had positives and negatives but there have been way too many mistakes made that have led to our losses,” Torrillo said. “Once we stop hurting ourselves, I really believe that we can turn this season around.”  

Getting the first win of the season against a ranked RPI team would be a big help to the Bengals’ hopes to turn the season around.

“We know that we are way better than what our record says so we’re going to use this bye week to get better, to progress and to come for next week and to go to RPI to get our first win of the season,” Bonagura said.