Buffalo State dug itself out of an early deficit and defeated Cortland, 27-20, Saturday, its first victory over the Red Dragons since 2000.
Senior Mike Mikolaichik passed for two touchdowns, and sophomore tailback James Perkins ran for two scores as the Bengals (1-2) rang up 27 straight points after Cortland (3-1) had taken a 13-0 lead in the first minute of the second quarter.
"It was just a tremendous team effort," said Bengals coach Paul Shaffner, "The team could have folded, but I'm so proud of the way our kids and staff kept believing and fought our way back."
Turnovers and errors in kick coverage hurt Buffalo State in losses to Ithaca and Wesley the last two weeks. And it was a 58-yard interception return by Greg Stewart that gave Cortland its 13-0 lead after only 48 seconds of the second period. This time, though, the Bengals bounced back.
Mikolaichik's 10-yard pass to Greg Meyer capped a 17-play, 82-yard drive that made it 13-7 at the half.
Buffalo State took the lead for good in the third period when Perkins ran over from a yard out to end a 12-play drive of 56 yards. Eric Buchanan's kick made it 14-13.
Perkins, who finished with 123 yards on 32 carries, scored again from 7 yards out after the Bengals had recovered a fumble by Cortland quarterback Alex Smith (Niagara-Wheatfield) at the Red Dragons' 10.
Jonathan Allen caught a 3-yard pass from Mikolaichik to make it 27-13 with 10:09 left in the game. Smith's 32-yard pass to Anthony Morat with 2:13 left ended the scoring.
Buffalo State outgained the Red Dragons, 343-229, rolling up 162 yards on the ground on 57 carries. Mikolaichik completed 15 of 30 for 181 yards. Allen had four catches for 75 yards. Dustin Bowser (Southwestern) was the leading rusher for Cortland with 82 yards in 18 carries. Smith completed 9 of 17 for 145 yards.
Justin Bodnar recovered two fumbles for the Bengals.
Bill Hauser (Lancaster) had 17 tackles and a sack for Cortland.
The next game for the Bengals will be at Frostburg State (Md.) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Atlantic Central Football Conference.