No. 25 Union College stops Football’s late comeback bid, 28-14

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No. 25 Union College stops Football’s late comeback bid, 28-14

Buffalo State finished 2017 with a 6-5 overall record and appeared in their third bowl game in four years

Buffalo State finished 2017 with a 6-5 overall record and appeared in their third bowl game in four years

Yomira Meregildo/The Record

Buffalo State finished 2017 with a 6-5 overall record and appeared in their third bowl game in four years

Yomira Meregildo/The Record

Yomira Meregildo/The Record

Buffalo State finished 2017 with a 6-5 overall record and appeared in their third bowl game in four years

Francis Boeck, Executive Editor

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The SUNY Buffalo State Football team wasn’t looking for a moral victory as they hosted the No. 25 Union College Dutchman Saturday afternoon at Coyer Field.

The Bengals wanted to give the 1,626 fans in attendance the real thing on Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Unfortunately, the Buffalo State’s fourth quarter comeback bid was squashed by the Dutchmen, 28-14, as the Bengals fell to 1-6 (1-2, Liberty League).

“We had a chance to beat the No. 25 team in the nation here,” Buffalo State interim coach Christian Ozolins said. “We’re going to look at the film tomorrow and were going to be disappointed because we legitimately had a shot to beat this team and we didn’t get it done.”

Offense lineman Kyle Schreader picked up a Martin Bailey fumble and rumbled eight yards in the endzone to bring the Bengals within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, the defense couldn’t come up with a stop on the ensuing drive. The Dutchman marched down the field on an 11-play, 80-yard, and nearly six-minute scoring drive which was capped off by William Bellamy’s fourth touchdown pass with 6:13 left in the game.

However, there was no one party to blame for the loss, according to Ozolins, both sides made their fair share of mistakes.

“Let’s just say both sides didn’t play well with each other,” Ozolins said. “But once again our kids played hard and (Union) is a really good football team.”

The Bengals’ offense only managed 55 rushing yards and quarterback Zak Ciezki faced quite a bit of pressure in the pocket as well.

Bellamy had a successful day against the Buffalo State pass defense going 17-for-23 for 264 yards. Union College tailbacks Joseph Ferreira and Griff Wallner both averaged almost five yards a carry, as the Bengals gave up 161 yards on the ground.

“It was a combination of everything,” Ozolins said. “We sputtered offensively at times we really needed to step up. We made it way too easy for them defensively on their first series, they marched down the field and scored. It was a combination of a couple of big mistakes that came back and bite us.”

The Dutchman found the endzone on their first two drives, taking a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. A return to midfield on the opening kickoff set up a William Bellamy touchdown pass to Andre Ross Jr for the first score and Bellamy hit Spencer Crystal for 19 yards for the second.

After Buffalo State’s defense came up with their first stop of the game, the offense responded by getting on the board. Tailback Myles McKinney was the workhouse accounting for 29 of the Bengals’ 66 yards on their lone scoring drive of the first half.

An unsportsmanlike penalty was the main catalyst for the Bengals’ offense going three-and-out on their next drive.

Union got the ball back at midfield and retook their two-score lead as Bellamy threw his third touchdown pass of the day finding Will Sirmon IV.

The Dutchmen attempted a 34-yard field goal that came up short as Union took a 21-7 lead into the half.

A Darren Wesley interception at the end of the third quarter, set up the Bengals with the ball at their own 1-yard line. Ciezki hit Joe Stewart along the sideline for 49 yards. A few plays later, Ciezki dumped a pass to Martin Bailey, who went 22 yards before fumbling setting up the Schreader touchdown.

Buffalo State’s offense made a valiant effort on their last drive reaching the Union 9-yard line before the Dutchman defense came up with the stop.

The Bengals will head to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute next week for a Liberty League matchup. Kickoff is Saturday at noon.

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