The following is a republished press release…to submit a community announcement, email Peter Blanchard at [email protected].
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo State outscored Cortland 20-0 in the second half and the Bengals handed the nationally 18th-ranked Red Dragons their first loss of the season, 29-21, in an Empire 8 contest.
Buffalo State improved to 3-2 overall and is 2-2 in the league. Cortland dropped to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference.
Cortland led 21-9 at halftime behind a pair of Steven Ferreira (West Sayville/Sayville) long TD passes – 77 yards to Jake Smith (Albany/Guilderland) on the game’s opening drive and 39 yards to Jon Mannix (East Northport/John Glenn) seven seconds into the second quarter – along with a 59-yard interception return for a score by Carson Lassiter(Madison, NJ) with 34 seconds left in the half. Buffalo State’s first-half points came on a first-quarter safety on a tackle in the end zone after a Ryan Mutterer punt pinned Cortland on the 1-yard line, and a Dale Stewart 1-yard TD run in the second quarter.
The Bengals drove 62 yards on the opening drive of the third quarter, capped by Aaron Ertel’s 23-yard TD pass to Joe Oca, to cut Cortland’s lead to 21-16. Late in the third, Stewart broke some tackles and ran 84 yards for a score that gave the hosts the first lead of the day at 22-21.
After forcing a Cortland punt, Buffalo State started the next drive on its 41-yard line and moved to the Cortland 28-yard line. On 4th-and-1, Ertel hit Nick Jones for a 25-yard reception to the 3-yard line, and on 3rd-and-goal Ertel threw a 2-yard TD pass to Stephen Johnson to put the Bengals up 29-21 with 7:21 left.
Cortland answered with a drive from its own 35-yard line to the Buffalo State 15-yard line. The Bengals’ defense, however, recorded a sack, followed by three incomplete passes, to take the ball back on downs with 3:06 left. Cortland was able to hold and get the ball back on its own 17-yard line with 1:38 left, but the Red Dragons weren’t able to gain a first down and the Bengals took a knee twice to run out the clock.
Ertel finished 24-of-43 passing for 277 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Stewart ran nine times for 102 yards and two scores and Oca caught nine passes for 93 yards and a TD. Billy Joiner made six catches for 83 yards. Mutterer averaged 41.5 yards per punt on four kicks, with three pinning Cortland inside the 20-yard line. John Alessandra and Shaq Frederick each made nine tackles.
Ferreira was 23-of-33 through the air for 377 yards and two TDs and no interceptions, but was sacked six times, including two each by Anthony Sanders and Khalil Summerville. Junior Nick Wagner (Elwood/John H. Glenn) caught seven passes for 78 yards, Smith finished with five receptions for 138 yards and a TD, and Mannix had five receptions for 103 yards and a score. Mannix reached the 100 reception mark for his career – he is the 17th player in school history to hit that milestone.
Senior linebacker Matt Ambrose (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) registered a game-high 13 tackles, seven solo, with Lassiter and Troy Beddoe (Endicott/Union-Endicott) recording eight stops each. Lassiter and Mark DelPrete (Staten Island/Monsignor Farrell) each intercepted a pass, with DelPrete and Beddoe notching two pass breakups apiece. DelPrete’s pick was his team-best third of the season.
Buffalo State finished with a 456-411 advantage in total offensive yards, including a 271-170 edge in the second half. The Bengals converted on 11-of-18 third downs and 2-of-3 fourth downs.
Cortland will host Alfred University next Saturday at 1 p.m. in a league matchup.
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