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Triumphant Alfred keeps Buffalo State grounded

It appears Buffalo State's stay in the national rankings will be short lived.

A week after shocking the No. 1-ranked Division III team in the country, the Bengals bumped into Alfred University and fullback Chuck Beckwith.

The Alfred sophomore, who rushed for a mere 17 yards in his first two games, tacked on 177 more to his total – scoring on pulsating touchdown runs of 31, 52, and 80 yards while the Saxons' defense minimized the Bengals' spread option en route to a 40-17 thrashing on Saturday afternoon at Coyer Field.

"It's so disappointing, that's the only word I can come up with right now," Buffalo State coach Jerry Boyes said. "It really mind boggles me and disappoints me that obviously we didn't learn a lesson from last Saturday. … I thought this win last week really was a great lesson to the kids on how you have to get ready each week to be successful. But it's obvious we didn't learn that."

The Bengals made history in their 7-6 upset over Wisconsin-Whitewater becoming the first Division III unranked team to knock off the top-ranked team in the regular season. Buffalo State celebrated by reaching the national polls by (19th) and the American Football Coaches Association (24th) for the first time since 2000.

The Bengals, nevertheless, are expected to fall from both after losing to the visiting Saxons (2-1) who rolled up 553 yards of total offense, including 401 on the ground.

"I don't think we came in overconfident or cocky and I felt that we were focused during practice,'' Buffalo State quarterback Casey Kacz said. "I'm shocked right now because I thought we were prepared. In practice we were focused and knew what to expect and it comes down to execution and we didn't execute."

Said sophomore defensive lineman Tawone Williams: "I really don't know what to say, I'm just as shocked as everyone else. We let them stick in the game for too long and they took advantage of that and this is the outcome."

But the Bengals had no way of knowing about Beckwith.

Shortly after breaking off a 39-yard run in the first quarter, Alfred lost leading rusher Tyler DeRosa for the season with a broken left ankle. The Saxons evidently have plenty depth in the backfield as backup Austin Dwyer ran for 92 yards on 22 carries. Alfred averaged 9.1 yards a pop.

But the Bengals most unnerving nightmares will come from Beckwith's fullback dives. With Buffalo State trailing 13-10 late in the third quarter, Beckwith peeled off a 31-yard touchdown run then followed with a 52-yarder on Alfred's ensuing possession.

After the Bengals answered with a Manny Brooks 2-yard touchdown run, Beckwith blasted through the line once more for an 80-yard run, his longest of the afternoon to give the Saxons a comfortable 34-17 lead.

"He ran hard and found the open holes and took full advantage of it," said Williams, who led the Bengals in tackles with 11. "He got those [three] big runs, one of them we had him wrapped up and we let him go."

The Bengals led, 10-7, at the half but the Saxons scored on their first four possessions of the second half to pull away. Alfred, bigger and more physical than the Bengals in the trenches, contained the Buffalo State offense although the Bengals didn't help their cause with turnovers [three] and several dropped passes.

Kacz was 17 of 34 for 225 yards and a touchdown, a 63-yard screen pass to Brooks in the first quarter, but was intercepted once, fumbled twice and was sacked three times.

The Bengals face Salisbury at noon next Saturday at Coyer Field. The Seagulls, ranked No. 8 by and 11th by the AFCA had a bye today after smashing N.C. Wesleyan, 69-6, on Sept. 15.

The Whitewater game proved Buffalo State is good enough to play with anyone, but even Boyes wonders which Bengals team will show up.

"Right now we have a yo-yo season, great victory disappointing loss, great victory, disappointing loss,'' he said. "Is that going to be our pattern all season long?"