After ringing up 51 points against Hartwick last week, SUNY Buffalo State lacked offensive punch Saturday against an opponent that had given up 34 and 42 points in two of its last three games.
The Bengals (5-4, 3-4 Empire 8) were held to just 195 yards total offense and were shut out for the first time since 2009 in a 7-0 loss to Ithaca College (5-4, 4-3) before 5,000 at Butterfield Stadium in Ithaca. It was the last home game for retiring Ithaca coach Mike Welch.
After forcing two Buffalo State punts, the Bombers scored on their second series an 8-yard pass from senior quarterback Wolfgang Shafer to freshman receiver Will Gladney. It was set up by a 51-yard punt return by cornerback Jordan Schemm to the Bengals’ 12-yard line.
Buffalo State was unable to respond. The Bengals lost the ball on downs at the Ithaca 38 on the subsequent series and fumbled it away at the Ithaca 24 when quarterback Kyle Hoppy fumbled for the only turnover of the game, after picking up 10 yards on a fourth-and-four run. The Bengals turned the ball over on downs at the Ithaca 46 with 4:30 to play and the Bombers ran out the remaining time.
Hoppy completed 9 of 18 passes for 102 yards with no interceptions. He was sacked three times. Shafer completed 15 of 21 for 203 yards for Ithaca with no interceptions. Madison Wesolowski (Iroquois) had five receptions for 64 yards. The Bengals had a 93-79 advantage in net rushing yards with Tre Jones leading the way with 72 yards.
The Bengals kept it close by stopping Ithaca on downs three times deep in Buffalo State territory and blocking a field goal after the Bombers had reached the Bengals’ 3-yard line in the third quarter.
Linebacker Bart Mazzara (Starpoint) stood out for the Buffalo State defense with 15 tackles (nine solo). Schemm, who forced and recovered the Hoppy fumble in addition to his long punt return, led Ithaca with 10 tackles.
Sunday at West Herr Field in Orchard Park, Erie Community College will close its regular season against undefeated Milford Academy of New Berlin at 2 p.m. The Kats (7-2) will be gunning for their fifth victory in a row.