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BENGALS COME UP JUST SHORT AGAIN

Chalk up another one under the column heading "shoulda."

It's not that Buffalo State is a bad football team this year. It's just that the Bengals can't seem to put together two good plays. Saturday, the result was a 9-7 loss to Brockport in front of a homecoming crowd of 2,335 at Coyer Field.

That extends Buffalo State's losing streak under first-year head coach Bob Swank to four games, dropping the team to 1-4 -- the program's worst start since going 0-5 in 1989.

"We've got quarterbacks trying to get used to receivers, players trying to get used to coaches, coaches trying to get used to players," said junior wide receiver Billy Edwards (McKinley). "We just haven't really found a way to jell everything together. It's tough because . . . we just can't quite pinch it together."

The Bengals almost put it together in the final five minutes of the game when quarterback Rodney Randall resurrected a busted play to find an open Edwards, who sprinted up the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown.

That put Buffalo State within two points of Brockport. The Bengals regained possession on their own 20 with 3:23 left. But after just one pass attempt, Buffalo State ran with little success, turning the ball over on downs with just more than a minute left.

"We ran, ran, ran. We didn't really give them anything else to expect but run," Edwards said. "We didn't come up with the short game or the passing game. I feel that's what hindered us in the last couple minutes of the game. We were just basically running, and that's taking a lot of time off the clock instead of coming up with the short game, maybe getting out of bounds."

"I think we've just been shooting ourselves in the foot," said Randall, who started the second half after Ryan Henry started the game at QB. "I think everything is there. We work on it all day in practice, all week. The plays are there. Everybody's focused. It's just a little thing. One man doesn't do his job. Somebody slips, falls down. It's just little things that kill us. We should be a 5-0 team right now."

Buffalo State had an average day offensively, gaining 278 total yards, led by Edwards' 122 receiving yards and Sterling Anderson's 79 rushing yards.

Meanwhile, the Bengals' defensive numbers were deceptive. Brockport gained 350 yards, including 118 by running back Seth Thomas, while quarterback Bob Darnley had a 9 for 19 day with 118 yards.

Still, the Eagles (4-1) could only manage one touchdown -- a 1-yard run by Darnley early in the second quarter -- and one field goal -- a 37-yarder by Todd Freelove in the first quarter.

"Our defense is playing great. . . . But (the offense) is not doing (its) job because they (the defense) are on the field too much," Randall said. "We need to get some first downs, maintain a drive so they can get some rest, and we're not doing it and that's hurting them."

Only twice this year have the Bengals put up impressive totals, scoring 33 points in their come-from-behind opening win against Robert Morris and 31 in a triple-overtime loss to Albion.

In its other three games, Buffalo State has averaged just 8.6 points.

"We've just got to execute plays when we have the opportunity to execute plays," Swank said. "You know, there's three or four times a game when you have the opportunity to convert a big play, touchdown, something to that effect, and two weeks out the five we've hit some big plays. The other three, when we can't hit big plays, we have nothing."

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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