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Defense leads Bengals comeback against RPI

What a difference a week makes.

Seven days after giving up 33 points in one half and 526 yards to Morrisville State, Buffalo State shut out RPI in the second half while rallying from a 12-point deficit to defeat the Engineers 33-21, on Saturday at Coyer Field.

The Bengals scored 24 unanswered points in the second half.  The loss in the nonconference game was the first for RPI after three victories by an average score of 37-9. The Engineers were limited to 290 total yards on Saturday, and were outgained,225-89, in the second half.

 Coach Jerry Boyes’ team is 3-0 for the first time since 1999.The loss in the nonconference game was the first for RPI after three victories by an average score of 37-9.

Senior quarterback Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park) completed 22 of 34 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown and led the Bengals with 46 yards rushing in 13 carries. Austin Neal (South Park) ran 12 and 1 yards for touchdowns and Antoine Holloman had a 5-yard run for another.

It was the Buffalo State defense that started the comeback. Khalil Sommerville (Bennett) forced a fumble on RPI's first possession of the second half and Bart Mazzara (Starpoint) recovered. Nine plays later Hoppy hit Steve Johnson (McKinley) from 2 yards and Justin Simoncelli (West Seneca East) kicked the point after. a key play in that drive was Hoppy'2 26-yard pass to Had Bryant The Bengals forced a punt on their next defensive series and eight plays later Holloman ran it in to give his team the lead for good.

Mazzara forced another fumble early in the fourth quarter and Darren Wesley recovered. After a 38-yard pass from Hoppy to Ricky Bailey (Niagara Falls), Neal ran it in from a yard out. Simoncelli's 22-yard field goal with 2:49 left sealed it.

Besides his forced fumble and recovery, Mazzara had an end-zone interception with the Bengals trailing 14-2 in the first half. Sommerville had seven tackles with a sack from his defensive tackle position. Jamar Rutledge (McKinley) had four catches for 55 yards and Johnson four for 53 in the victory.

The Bengals will be on the road at defending Empire 8 champion Alfred U. next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Erie Community College (1-1)  was off Saturday. The Kats will face junior college power Lackawanna in Scranton, Pa. next Saturday night.

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