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Football overwhelms Otterbein in season-opening rout

Sophomore+running+back+Dale+Stewart+made+his+Buffalo+State+debut+on+Saturday%2C+rushing+eight+times+for+77+yards+and+a+touchdown.
Sophomore running back Dale Stewart made his Buffalo State debut on Saturday, rushing eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore running back Dale Stewart made his Buffalo State debut on Saturday, rushing eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Ed Syguda

Ed Syguda

Sophomore running back Dale Stewart made his Buffalo State debut on Saturday, rushing eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony Reyes, Opinion Editor

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Coming off their best season in over a decade, the Buffalo State football team kicked off its season in a big way on Saturday. The Bengals picked up right where they left off last season, taking down Otterbein University, 29-0.

It was the first ever meeting between the two teams, and it was also the Bengals first shutout since a 27-0 victory over the Apprentice School on Oct. 22, 2005.

“The real star of the day was the defensive side of the ball,” Buffalo State head coach Jerry Boyes said. “In today’s football, to shut out an opponent is really quite an amazing feat, it‘s great credit to the schemes as much as the play of the players, and they just did a great job keeping them out of the end zone.”

The defense stood tall every chance it had, holding Otterbein to just 115 total yards on offense, 99 yards passing and 15 yards rushing. The defense also had four interceptions and a forced fumble. Senior linebackers Shaq Frederick and Marquis Artis led the team in tackles with 16 and nine respectively.

The offense that Otterbein was able to muster mostly came from senior quarterback Kevan Green, who finished 9 of 14 for 76 yards and three interceptions. Its leading receiver, sophomore Julian Lowe, had just 3 catches for 39 yards and leading rusher, senior Speedy Hammond, had just 9 carries for 17 yards.

On the offensive side of the ball for the Bengals, the running game was unstoppable. The offense put up 501 total yards, with three running backs coming together to rush for a total of 339 of those yards. Junior running back Tre Jones led the attack with 16 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running backs Dale Stewart and Antoine Holloman each chipped in with over 70 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Jones looks to replace the ultra-productive Rich Pete, a two-time All-Empire 8 First Team member, who graduated last year.

“Before the game, I was thinking I had some big shoes to fill,” Jones said. “Obviously we lost a big part of our team last year, and I wanted to come in, fill in that spot, and make sure I’m able to help our team win ball games.”

Jones kicked off the game with a bang. On just the second play of the day, he took a handoff and was off to the races for 81 yards and a touchdown, putting the Bengals on top just over a minute into play. The Bengals went on to score three second-quarter rushing touchdowns.

Otterbein looked to finally have something going to start the third quarter, but the drive ended in a Buffalo State interception. The combination of a strong running game and lockdown defense led to the Bengals dominating time of possession 39:33 to 20:27.

“I was ecstatic to see Tre have the game he had,” Boyes said. “He’s kind of been sitting behind Richard for the last couple years, a little bit of an apprentice position you might say, and it really showed what his capabilities are, things that we kind of have known all along, but now it was his time to do it.”

With running game playing so well, the passing game only put up 162 total yards. Junior quarterback Kyle Hoppy went 8 of 15 for 88 yards. He lost his helmet at one point of the game and had to come out. He was relieved by senior Dan Serignese, who was 7 of 13 for 63 yards. Third string quarterback junior Aaron Ertel also saw some playing time because of the excessive heat during the game and went 2 of 3 for 11 yards.

Hoppy was happy to hand the ball of to his backs and let them do their thing.

“I thought our team played very well,” Hoppy said. “Our defense pitched a shutout and our offensive line opened up some huge holes for our running backs. It makes the game a lot easier when, as a quarterback, you don’t have to do too much, you know, just run the offense and we can get out of there with a win.”

Jones knows what he and the two other backs are capable of, calling them a “three-headed monster.” He stated that as long as they do their job and the defense continues to shut teams down, he has confidence they can beat almost anyone.

The players feel that although it was a big win, and all three phases seemed to work well, there are still things they need to correct.

“The main thing for us is to take it game by game,” Hoppy said. “Not focus on who we’re playing, but what they do and how we can beat them, how we can take advantage of what they do and just go out there and play football.”

The Bengals will have an extended period of time to make those corrections, as they will now head into their bye week. They’ll return to game action on Sept. 19 when they open their Empire 8 schedule and take on Alfred University.

email: reyes.record@outlook.com

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Football overwhelms Otterbein in season-opening rout