Bengals lose third straight in double OT as comeback bid falls short

Running back Rich Pete was at the center of a bazaar play that sent Saturdays game into double overtime. The Bengals would go on to lose, 39-33.

Dave DeLuca/The Record

Running back Rich Pete was at the center of a bazaar play that sent Saturday’s game into double overtime. The Bengals would go on to lose, 39-33.

Buffalo State knew it couldn’t let Alfred jump out to an early lead Saturday.

The Bengals had been outscored 38-0 in the first quarters of their previous three games, something that the team knew it couldn’t repeat against the Saxons.

But even with more emphasis placed on a strong start, Buffalo State still found itself down 20-0 after the first quarter.

“This past week, for whatever reason, (we had a) slow start,” said head coach Jerry Boyes. “We gave them a gift on one of the touchdowns.”

The plodding start to the game forced the Bengals to come from behind yet again, and for a third week in a row they failed to do so. Alfred escaped with a 39-33 victory in double overtime, dropping Buffalo State to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in Empire 8 play.

Despite the slow start Saturday, the Bengals slowly but surely clawed their way back into the contest.

Quarterback Casey Kacz hit Ryan Carney for a 38-yard touchdown pass with just 24 seconds left in the first half. The play gave Buffalo State momentum, which the team carried over into the second half.

The Bengals cut the lead to six on a Rich Pete touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Five minutes later, another touchdown pass from Kacz to Carney tied the game, pending the extra point.

For the second straight week, however, kicker Alex Debbins failed to connect on an extra point, so the game remained tied at 27 going into overtime.

In the first overtime, Alfred missed an extra point of its own, meaning Buffalo State could win the game with seven more points.

In the play of the game, Kacz dropped back on third and goal from the 19-yard line and heaved a pass over the middle towards Pete. Alfred’s Seiji Hinton picked off the throw in the end zone, and ran with the ball towards the left side, celebrating.

However, he didn’t kneel down or go out of bounds, meaning the play was still alive, something everybody on the field besides Pete seemed to forget.

“Quite frankly, all I saw was the interception and the kid running with the ball, and I kind of looked away to tell you the truth,” Boyes said. “But (Pete) just had a great heads-up, singular play.”

Pete ran over to Hinton, jarred the ball loose and pounced on it in the end zone. After conferring, the officials ruled it a touchdown, and suddenly Buffalo State had gone from defeated to a made extra point away from winning the game.

“That was one of the best plays I think that you can have in your lifetime. I don’t know what you can do to beat that,” Kacz said. “…That is a real heads-up play, and Rich deserves some credit for that.”

The jubilation didn’t last long on the Bengals’ sideline, however, as Debbins once again missed the extra point, sending the game into double overtime tied 33-33.

Buffalo State turned the ball over on downs on its next offensive possession, and Alfred’s Austin Dwyer scored a 4-yard touchdown on third and goal to seal the 39-36 victory for the Saxons.

“I love our guys’ efforts, but for whatever reason we have found ways to lose, instead of the opposite,” Boyes said. “Until we do that, we’re not going to experience that success that quite frankly I think we’re capable of experiencing.”

Pete finished the game with 130 rushing yards and a touchdown. Carney had three catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Hall had two interceptions for the Bengals defensively.

Buffalo State travels to Salisbury on Saturday to take on the Sea Gulls at 1 p.m.

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