Buffalo State football flexes its muscles against newcomers Finlandia


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Senior linebacker John Alessandra (44), sophomore linebacker Demetrius Brown (16) and the Buffalo State defense held Finlandia to a program-record 24 yards of total offense in a 62-0 rout on Saturday.

Anthony Reyes, Staff Writer

The Buffalo State football team had a record-setting day on Saturday as it defeated the Finlandia Lions by a score of 62-0 in their third-straight win.

The 62 points scored is the second-most in school history, and it’s also the second largest margin of victory in school history. The offense had six rushing touchdowns which matched a single-game school record.

Defensive back Rey Jordan had two interceptions and returned them both for touchdowns, something that was never accomplished in school history until Saturday. His performance earned him Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The rest of the defense set single-game school records as well, allowing just 24 yards of total offense and negative 32 yards rushing. The defense also earned its second shutout of the season, the first time that has been done since 1995, and just the second time in school history.

The Bengals got off to a quick start, going 62 yards in nine plays on their first drive, which was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown from running back Tre Jones to take a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Quarterback Aaron Ertel threw an interception on the next Buffalo State drive, which set the Lions up with the ball in Bengals territory, but they couldn’t muster up any offense and turned the ball over on downs.

On the first play of the next drive, Jones took a handoff out of the wildcat formation and took it all the way to the house, a 69-yard touchdown to extend the Bengals lead to 14-0. Buffalo State would add on another touchdown from running back Dale Stewart, along with one of Jordan’s interception returns and a rushing touchdown from fullback Jesse Williams, the first of his career, to take a 35-0 lead into halftime.

Although the Bengals turned the ball over three times in the first half, they combined for 353 yards of total offense to Finlandia’s 12. The second half turned out to be more of the same as the offense put up 199 more yards and 27 more points while holding Finlandia scoreless and only allowing 12 more yards.

On the offensive side of the ball, most of the starters played just the first half before they were replaced by backups. They attempted just 18 passes on the day, 10 of which were thrown by Ertel. He finished 5-of-10 for 147 yards. Wide receiver Billy Joiner was his favorite target, hauling in three catches for 93 yards. Backup quarterbacks Dan Serignese and Jason Saul were a combined 6 of 8 for 70 yards.

The running game led the day for the offense as they tallied 355 yards of rushing and six touchdowns and had five backs rush for at least 30 yards. Antoine Holloman and Tre Jones led the way, combining for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Stewart also added 62 yards and a touchdown on four carries.

“It’s the three-headed monster,” Jones said. “No matter who is back there between me, Dale (Stewart), and Holloman, you’re going to see something special.”

The two turnovers on the day were courtesy of Rey Jordan’s two interceptions, which doubled his total to four on the year. Jordan, who also plays basketball for Buffalo State, is thriving in his first year of collegiate football.

“First, I’m going to give thanks to that front line,” Jordan said. “Cause they’re doing an awesome job getting to the quarterback, making quarterbacks force the throws. It’s helping us, we’re helping each other as defensive backs. It just feels good though to get another shutout; hopefully we’ve got more coming.”

With the game going the way it was early, Jones knew it was important to remain focused.

“Anything can happen in the game of football,” Jones said. “You’ve got to keep the energy up. Don’t get overconfident because it may backfire, just keep your head in the game.”

Although Boyes stressed the importance of staying focused, the game was a welcomed change of pace from the tough competition the Bengals usually see week in and week out.

“Football, unlike a lot of sports, is tough to get mentally up all the time. Every weekend, it’s tough to do,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “So there’s times you need games like this, you really do, to not have to expend it all, you might say, and to get to see a lot of your teammates get an opportunity to go out and have some fun, too.”

This is Finlandia’s first year with a football program, and for Boyes, he knows the situation they’re going through.

“I feel for Finlandia and their coaching staff,” he said. “Long trip, and this is their first season, so they’re playing with young kids that are going to be the pioneers, hopefully, for Finlandia football. We went through that practice when I first got here in 1986.

“Building a football program is not an overnight situation. In basketball, you go out and recruit two good ones and you could turn things around pretty quick. In football, it’s a task.” Boyes noted.

Buffalo State will now take their three-game win streak and hit the road for two games. On Saturday, they take on the Utica Pioneers and look for revenge after last year’s 31-21 loss where they fell behind early and couldn’t overcome the deficit, which knocked them out of first place in the Empire 8.

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