Derek Baker's third touchdown catch of the game with 34 seconds left brought undefeated Buffalo State (3-0) a come-from-behind 20-17 victory over Cortland (1-2) before nearly 3,000 Saturday at the Red Dragons' Chugger Davis Field.
The late rally ended a two-year drought against Cortland, which registered one-sided victories over the Bengals in the team's last two meetings.
Baker, a junior from Buffalo, had six catches for 187 yards as he broke one State record and tied two others. His 1,493 career receiving yards eclipsed the mark of 1,402 by Shino Ellis (1994-96).
His 14 career TD receptions equaled the Bengal record by Derrick Floyd (1987-90) and Ellis and the three TD receptions tied the record he already shared with two others.
Bengals quarterback Chris Henry (Niagara-Wheatfield), who threw all three TD passes, set a Buffalo State single-game record with 357 passing yards, topping his 356 against Ithaca last year.
"This was our first true test with some adversity this year," said Bengals coach Jerry Boyes. "We were able to see what we were all about and we persevered."
Despite all the offensive heroics, perhaps the biggest play of the game was registered on defense by Bengals linebacker Jon Crumley. With the Bengals trailing, 17-14, and Cortland facing a third-and-18 at the Buffalo State 28, Crumley sacked Red Dragons quarterback Jeff Humble, forcing a fumble which Crumley recovered at the Bengal 30 with 2:50 left.
From there the Bengals drove for the winning touchdown. Junior tailback Shawn Starks (Lockport) kept the drive alive with a 4-yard run on third-and 3 at the Cortland 48. Then, on fourth-and-one at the Cortland 14, Starks got the needed yard with some extra effort. On the next play, Henry hit Baker for the winning touchdown.
Henry hit Baker on a 83-yard bomb to give Buffalo State its first lead, 14-7, in the opening minute of the second half. "We had to take advantage of their overaggressiveness," said coach Jerry Boyes of his play call for the deep throw to Baker.
MEN'S SOCCER: The University at Buffalo now has gone two games without giving up a goal, blanking visiting Delaware, 3-0. Justin Deming had three saves in recording his fourth shutout of the season for the Bulls (6-3-1). Chris Vinci (St. Joe's), Steve Butcher (North Tonawanda) and Tim Songer had the UB goals.
Elsewhere, NCCC downed D'Youville, 5-3. Charlie Woods (Starpoint) had three goals and an assist for the victors.
WOMEN'S SOCCER: St. Bonaventure received goals from five different players in a 5-2 win against visiting Albany. The Bonnies (4-2-1) had a 30-6 edge in shots.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: UB dropped matches to Albany and Fairfield. Gloria Rodriguez was a double winner for the Bulls. . . . Duquesne swept St. Bonaventure, 9-0, in the Bonnies' Atlantic 10 opener.
CROSS COUNTRY: Canisius captured the title in both the men's and women's divisions of the Little Three championships, which were held at Niagara. In the men's competition, Dan Jennings was first overall in 27:49. In the women's race, Gretchen Kabza of Canisius was a minute ahead of the field, finishing in 19:34.
WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Niagara and Canisius both lost two matches in Lewisburg, Pa. Yale swept Niagara in three games, while Bucknell needed five games to upend the Eagles. Canisius also lost three straight to Yale and went the distance in losing to Bucknell.