11 Bengals earn All-Empire 8 honors, led by Artis


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Junior linebacker Marquis Artis (21) was third on Buffalo State’s defense with 99 tackles.

Staff Reports

Buffalo State’s own Marquis Artis was named Empire 8’s Defensive Player of the Year. The junior linebacker played a key role in Buffalo State’s 8-3 season, their best since 1998, and was a force in the defensive secondary. Artis made 99 stops on the season, third most on the team and eighth most in the conference, forced four fumbles, had two interceptions and was one of five Bengals with a team-high three sacks.

Artis was one of 11 Buffalo State players named to the All-Empire 8. He is joined by senior wide receiver Mike Doherty, senior running back Rich Pete, junior offensive lineman Brandon Lathrop, junior linebacker Shaq Fredrick, junior defensive back Mitch Thomas and junior kicker Marc Montana, all earning first team All-Empire 8 honors.

Doherty led the Empire 8 and broke a program record with 62 catches this season. He also led the conference in receiving yards (1,144) and all-purpose yards (1,877) as a result of his diverse usage as a punt and kick returner. Doherty’s other school records include most catches in a game with 15 (during the ECAC Southwest Bowl), kickoff returns in a career (97), kickoff return yards in a career (2,261), and all-purpose yards in a game (419), season (1,877) and career (5,554). Doherty was a first-teamer last year also and was second-team All-NJAC in 2010. His 1,144 receiving yards were just eight short of the single-season record set by Derek Baker in 2000.

Pete scored a team-high 14 times this season and set a Buffalo State record with 42 career scores. Pete finished the year with 1,061 rushing yards which was the first 1,000-yard effort since 2003. He averaged 5.6 yards-per-carry this season and added 12 catches for 207 yards. Pete’s 5.9 yards-per-carry over his career as a Bengal is a school record and his 3,284 career rushing yards is the second-most in school history. This is Pete’s second consecutive season earning First-Team honors and he was All-NJAC honorable mention in 2011. He was also named Buffalo State’s Sportsman of the Year.

Typically, the left tackle is the most important offensive lineman as he protects a quarterback’s blindside. However, the left-handed Kyle Hoppy started under center for most of the year, making right tackle Brandon Lathrop’s job that much more important. Lathrop anchored an offensive line that was a big reason for Buffalo State’s conference-best average of 38.9 points-per-game. He was an honorable mention last year.

Fredrick improved upon his honorable mention from last year by leading the Empire 8 with 118 tackles including 6.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks. He also had an interception, a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Thomas had a team-high five interceptions this year, third most in the Empire 8. He added 67 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He blocked a field goal in the season-opening overtime win over Cortland and was named Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week after a two-pick, 11-tackle performance in Buffalo State’s upset win over Ithaca.

First-year transfer Marc Montana’s season was highlighted by setting a school record with a 49-yard field goal that sent the season-opening win against Cortland into overtime and then breaking his own record with a 52-yarder in the ECAC Southwest Bowl Game. He was named Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Week for both performances. Montana hit a school-record 11 field goals this year, missing only three.

Junior wide receiver Ryan Carney, junior defensive end Dez Howard, junior defensive lineman Anthony Sanders and senior defensive back Sherman Nelson earned All-Empire 8 Second Team honors.

Carney joined Doherty as the only two receivers to go over 1,000 yards in the conference, finishing with 1,005 yards on 39 catches. His 12 receiving touchdowns and 25.8 yards-per-catch average this year are both school records. Carney’s last honor was an honorable mention in 2012.

Howard, a first-time honoree, finished with 33 tackles, a pair of sacks and a forced fumbled in his role as team captain.

Sanders improved from last year’s honorable mention, registering 36 tackles, seven of which were behind the line of scrimmage, and 2.5 sacks.

Nelson transitioned smoothly from wide receiver to cornerback, finishing with four interceptions and eight pass breakups while adding 28 tackles and a forced fumble in only nine games.