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Football leans on the running game, gets first win vs. Hartwick; 41-7

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Football leans on the running game, gets first win vs. Hartwick; 41-7

Martin Bailey ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals' Homecoming win over Hartwick

Martin Bailey ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals' Homecoming win over Hartwick

Aaron Bobeck/The Record

Martin Bailey ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals' Homecoming win over Hartwick

Aaron Bobeck/The Record

Aaron Bobeck/The Record

Martin Bailey ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals' Homecoming win over Hartwick

Zach Rohde, Sports Reporter

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Despite being the oldest player on the team, Martin Bailey was a man of many firsts on Saturday for the SUNY Buffalo State football team.

In his first start as a Bengal, he led the way in the team’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season helping them to their first win of the 2018 campaign.

Bailey ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo State’s 41-7 victory over the Hartwick Hawks on Homecoming weekend.

“For the type of game that he had today, that has to be very rewarding for him and as a coach, it’s great to see,” Buffalo State coach Jerry Boyes said. “For a young man to realize that success after other opportunities that just didn’t work out you might say but he stuck with it. Perseverance is a huge virtue of success.”  

The Bengals rushed for 140 yards total after struggling to eclipse the century in the ground game in their first three games of the season.

The Buffalo State offense came out firing, scoring on their first drive. Kevin Torrillo threw the first of his two touchdown passes in the first half with a six-yard toss to Vinny Gregory with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Bengals then fumbled at their 39-yard line and Hartwick recovered. The Hawks then answered at the start of the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Macina to Dylan Mucci.

Buffalo State responded later on. A 32-yard pass from Torrillo to Sam Mazzara set up a two-yard touchdown for Martin Bailey which put Buffalo State up 14-7 with 12 minutes left in the half.

“Our big play people made some big plays and that’s what has to happen in a ball game,” Boyes said. “It’s nice to have 13, 14 play drives but it’s also nice to have 1 or 2 play drives and score. Those big plays have always been a little bit of our signature.”

At the end of the first half, the Bengals themselves forced a fumble and recovered. The offense took over at their own 9-yard line. Torrillo led a 91-yard, 13-play scoring drive capped off by a four-yard pass to Jordan Evert to give the Bengals a 21-7 lead at halftime.

Torrillo had a very solid first half, completing 15 of 22 passes, throwing for 225 of his 296 total yards, along with two touchdowns and a pick. 

Buffalo State’s running game also looked strong in the first half thanks to Bailey, who managed 57 yards and a touchdown on 14 rushes in the first half.

“You have to have a rushing attack otherwise they’re going to gang up on your receivers and say ‘go ahead and try to run the ball,’” Boyes said. “That has happened the first few games.”  

The Bengals continued to pour it on offensively in the second half. In their first drive of the third quarter, Bailey had a 40-yard touchdown run to put the Bengals up 28-7. That score was his second of the game and it put him over the century mark for rushing yards in the game.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction for sure, I give it up to our O-Line they are the reason why we got that 100 yards rushing,” Bailey said.

Torrillo was replaced by backup Tony Maple in the fourth quarter. Maple wasted no time, rushing for a 22-yard score to put the Bengals up 34-7.

With a minute left to play, Omar Robinson put the nail in the coffin with a one-yard touchdown run for the game’s final score.

The Bengals defense held Hartwick to just 276 offensive yards, almost half of what they gave up to RPI last week. They also forced five turnovers; three interceptions and two fumbles. Darren Wesley led the way with two of the three picks.

“What went on today is my expectation, but now we put that to bed and move onto the next game,” Boyes said.

The Bengals, who are now 1-3 (1-0 Empire 8) on the season, play Alfred University at home next week at 6 p.m.

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Football leans on the running game, gets first win vs. Hartwick; 41-7