Watered down offense lifeless in loss to Alfred


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Junior running back Dale Stewart ran for 154 yard and the team’s lone touchdown in Saturday’s 34-10 loss to the Alfred Saxons.

Tony Callens, Associate Sports Editor

The same issue has plagued two Buffalo football teams this week: getting off the field on third downs. Just as the Buffalo Bills failed to keep its defense rested on Thursday, so did the Buffalo State Bengals on Saturday.

Time of possession and key third down conversions led the Alfred Saxons to a 34-10 victory over Buffalo State. The Saxons were able to convert eight of 16 third downs, extending drives at key points all game long. Alfred held the ball for a whopping 43:58, out of the allotted 60.

“I have to give credit to Alfred. They might have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he had quite a day against us,” Buffalo State head coach Jerry Boyes said. “I think there were some discipline issues in terms of ‘Well, I’ve got this assignment, and I’ve got to stay home on my assignment,’ instead of staying inside where they should be.”

Alfred’s senior quarterback Tyler Johnson ran for 92 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.

Johnson had an efficient day passing, going 11-for-18 totaling 160 yards. He spread the ball around to five different receivers, connecting with them on multiple third downs at crucial times in the game.

Buffalo State only held the ball for one three-and-out series before Alfred jumped out to an early 13-0 lead.

On the next possession, the Bengals came out in a wildcat formation. They went on to rely on the wildcat almost exclusively the entire game. Junior running back Dale Stewart scampered for a 55-yard score, the team’s only touchdown on the day. He led the way for the Bengals on offense, acting as a de facto quarterback.

“It felt good; it’s a productive package and I feel comfortable in it,” Stewart said.

He gained 154 yards on 17 carries as Buffalo State ran on 81 percent of their plays.

Senior quarterback Aaron Ertel attempted just eight passes on the day, completing three of them for eight yards.

“We practiced (the wildcat) knowing that we were going to run it quite a few times. The weather came down and it was working. You know the rule, ‘Don’t fix what’s not broken,’” said Ertel.

Alfred put together a 13-play, 66-yard drive capped off by a Johnson touchdown to enter halftime up 20-7.

In the second half, the Saxons capitalized on drives of 66 and 74 yards to put the game out of reach.

“We just gotta move the ball. We gotta find what’s working offensively. We have to rally our defense, help them out, and we’ll go from there,” Ertel said.

It was a disappointing game following a thrilling 29-26 win in the season-opener over Otterbein two weeks ago. Alfred has won the last five meeting between the teams. Buffalo State is still seeking their first win over the Saxons since 1995.

Buffalo State falls to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in Empire Eight play. Alfred improves to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in Empire Eight play.

“We have to be efficient on offense and drive the football,” Boyes said. “The defense has to stiffen things up and make stops. They have to play the ways I know they are capable of playing going forward.”

The Bengals will play in their homecoming game at home on Saturday at Coyer Field against Morrisville State for a noon kickoff.

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