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BENGALS TIP MERCYHURST ON DEPAOLA'S FIELD GOAL

After missing an extra point earlier in the game Saturday afternoon, Buffalo State place-kicker Nick DePaola was hoping for an opportunity for redemption.

When it came, he was more than ready.

DePaola kicked a 27-yard field goal with 6:45 left to lift the Bengals to a 16-14 victory over Mercyhurst before a crowd of 1,287 at Tullio Field.

"This team continues to have a refuse-to-lose attitude; they never give up," Buffalo State coach Jerry Boyes said after his team improved to 4-2 while dropping Mercyhurst to 4-3.

When DePaola misfired on his PAT late in the first quarter, it didn't appear to be that big of a play. The Bengals had just taken a 13-0 lead and looked ready to roll over the Lakers.

That perception changed, however, as Mercyhurst got an 8-yard touchdown run from Brian Hamlin in the second quarter and followed it with a 7-yard scoring run by Justin Gibson with 5:26 remaining in the third quarter. The second of two Eric Wicks PATs gave the Lakers a 14-13 advantage.

The Bengals took a punt and started what proved to be the winning drive at their own 15-yard line with 28 seconds left in the third quarter. They moved 75 yards in 19 plays with the help of a couple of big runs by Tinelle Walker before the drive stalled at the Mercyhurst 10-yard line, setting the stage for DePaola.

The Bengals had taken their early lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Dion Fendoe and a 1-yard run by Shawn Starks (Lockport). Fendoe had to leave the game late in the first half with an ankle injury.

Starks finished as the game's top rusher with 29 carries for 126 yards. Walker added 73 yards on nine attempts.

Hamlin was the Lakers' top rusher with 66 yards and Gibson was right behind with 63.

"This is a big win because Mercyhurst beat Ithaca in their season opener and Ithaca is our last home game, so we have a head-to-head advantage now," Boyes said.

The Bengals host Kean (N.J.) at Coyer Field Saturday at 1 p.m.

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