Hoppy bounces back, Bengals top Hawks, 51-33


Emyle Watkins/Special to the Record

Senior running back Tre Jones ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s win. He’s second in the Empire 8 in rushing yards/game (95.3).

Tony Callens, Associate Sports Editor

In a hectic, high-scoring game, the Bengals came out on top, 51-33, over Hartwick, displaying a powerhouse offense on Senior Day at Coyer Field.

Junior quarterback Kyle Hoppy took control this week in response to last week’s 5 for 22 performance.

“Last week was rough, and we knew we had to respond. We had to get it done and we did in a big way today,” he said.

The southpaw completed 20 of 33 passes for 328 yards, three touchdowns through the air and two interceptions. He added two rushing scores.

Junior Had Bryant led the Bengal receivers, catching 10 passes for 164 yards and two scores on a career day.

“I’m very happy for Had and the game that he had. It just shows the capabilities he has,” Buffalo State head coach Jerry Boyes said. “I hoped that the team was on a mission to prove something from last week and they did.”

The game started off with a bang as Hartwick scored on a 71-yard connection from quarterback Billy Pine to receiver Koree Reed.

The junior had receptions of 71, 51 and 99 yards to mark a six-catch, 253 yard day with two scores.

“Hartwick is known for their big plays. They got some today, but if you take away those big plays, you’ll see our defense had a good football game today,” Boyes said.

Despite allowing 33 points and over 300 yards from the opposing quarterback, the defense did make plays in the game. In the fourth quarter, defensive back Ish height picked off Pine for his fourth of the season. The play would have been a pick-six, but the return was called back on a block-in-the-back penalty.

The Bengals offense made big plays of their own all day. Hoppy and Bryant matched up for 64 and 41 yards on their two touchdown connections. The latter was a highlight-reel play from Bryant, who made several defenders miss on his way to the end zone. The offense finished with 523 yards of total offense.

“Same recipe — take what they give you. It’s all about execution, like Coach Boyes always says, and we did today. A few new guys stepped up and couple old guys came out and did their thing too,” Hoppy said.

The second quarter encapsulated everything this game had to offer. The two teams combined for five touchdowns in the quarter.

Both Bryant touchdowns came in the second quarter. Pine had a one-yard score to cap off a seven-play, 63-yard drive. The Bengals scored another touchdown on the ground. Hoppy had the ball knocked out of his hands and into the waiting arms of Hartwick defensive end Marcus Mistersaro, who took the return 80 yards for the score.

By halftime, the score was 31-20, with Buffalo State in the lead. The Bengals would keep that lead for the rest of the game.

Senior day was one to remember for running back Tre Jones, who said it was hard to hold back emotions.

“My last time actually playing an actual game on this field… I still remember the first time I stepped out on it,” Jones said. “Pre-game, I was sitting down reminiscing. It flew bye just like that. I almost shed a tear.”

Jones ran for his third straight 100-yard day with 169 yards and two scored on 18 carries. The running game has been a consistent bright spot for the Bengals this season.

“I feel like all I need is for my team to believe in me. Their belief in me, their confidence in me just takes me to another level. Everything I’m doing is for them, to help us win,” Jones said of his recent success.

Buffalo State improves to 5-3 on the season and 3-3 in Empire 8 play. Hartwick falls to 2-6 and 1-5 in conference play.

The NCAA tournament and the conference title are seemingly out of reach at this point in the season, but a pair of wins could get them in contention for a third-straight bowl appearance.

The Bengals will go on the road for their final two games of the season. On Saturday, Nov. 5, the team has a date with Ithaca College for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Jones’ goal for the rest of the year: “Win out, possibly go to another bowl game and get another ring,” he said with a grin.

email: [email protected]