Adrian College of Michigan saw more than enough of Buffalo State's tailback tandem of Deon Foendoe and Shawn Starks Saturday at Coyer Field.
Foendoe and Starks scored three touchdowns each as the Bengals (2-0) rang up 42 first-half points and coasted home with a 42-27 victory over the Bulldogs (1-2) before 918 on a near-perfect afternoon.
The two Bengal running backs have a friendly competition going.
"We feed off each other," said Starks, who also had three TDs in the victory at Adrian last year. "When he (Foendoe) scores I want to score and when I score he wants to score. That just gives us more energy. It's a positive atmosphere."
Coach Jerry Boyes' team weathered a second-half aerial assault by Adrian's Joe Davis, who attempted 54 passes, completing 27, as he operated from a shotgun formation nearly the entire game.
All four Adrian touchdowns came on passes from Davis to senior wide receiver Ryan Speiser, who beat the Bengals on deep routes and outfought defenders in traffic for some tough catches. Speiser's TD catches were 24, 21, 10 and 44 yards. He had 10 catches overall for 167 yards to go with the 14 he snared in the opener against Defiance College.
In contrast to Adrian, which called only 18 running plays for 32 net yards, Buffalo State leaned heavily on its ground game. The Bengals ran 59 times for 246 net yards and outgained the Bulldogs, 463-360, overall.
Foendoe had 16 carries for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Starks carried 20 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The junior back from Lockport got his third touchdown on a 5-yard pass play from quarterback Chris Henry (10 for 14 with one interception)
"Today, with the type of defense they played, we got back to the run," said Foendoe, a junior from White Plains. "The offensive line did a great job all day. Give them all the credit in the world."
The offensive line, though, did suffer an important loss when guard Nick Villa, the only senior starter, went down -- probably for the season -- with a left leg injury in the second half.
"Phew, that's a big loss. Nick was like the leader of the line and that hurts the team tremendously," said Foendoe. Freshman Zequa Tookes, a 6-foot-2, 328-pounder from Rochester's Benjamin Franklin High, filled in for Villa.
"It (losing Villa) hurts a lot but we've got Zequa Tookes. He's got to come in. He's been wanting a chance. He's getting a chance to prove himself now. We're hoping he comes in and does a great job. We've got to keep rolling."
The Bengals scored on six of their eight first-half possessions, driving 52, 69, 70 and 78 yards for TDs before converting a bad snap on a punt and an interception for scoring marches of 6 and 31 yards in the final minute of the half. That blew the game wide open, 42-14. Bengal receiver Derek Baker was a major contributor with seven catches for 123 yards.
Boyes used backup quarterback Nick Stepien the entire second half, giving the sophomore from Frontier his most extensive collegiate action. Stepien attempted only five passes, completing three.
Even though the Bengals coasted a little, Boyes was not totally happy.
"It's disappointing to play a second half like that, yet I don't want to take anything away from the first 30 minutes or the final outcome," Boyes said. "For the second game in a row we come out in the second half, don't put the final nail down and we give the other team some life."
Buffalo State now heads into the meat of its schedule, with road games against Cortland and Rowan and a Homecoming game against Brockport.
"We really want this game next week (Cortland)," Starks said. "They embarrassed us two times (38-9 in 1997 and 58-31 last year) in the past two years and it's time to return the favor."