UTICA, N.Y. - The Buffalo State football team scored 20 unanswered points in a span of one minute and 25 seconds late in the game to come from behind and defeat host Utica College 34-19 in Empire 8 Conference action at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers led 19-14 with 11:42 to go in the fourth quarter, but two big touchdown passes from Buffalo State quarterback Casey Kacz and a fumble recovered for touchdown led to the 19 point victory for the Bengals.
Utica's record dropped to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Empire 8, while Buffalo State evened its record at 4-4 overall (2-3 Empire 8). UC freshman running back Ryan Burnett (Mount Vernon, NY/Arch Bishop Stepinac) had a fine game, rushing 15 times for a game-high 77 yards and one touchdown. Burnett's fourth quarter touchdown from 22 yards out gave the Pioneers a 19-14 lead with 11:42 to go in the regulation.
UC quarterback Connor Butkiewicz (Southington, CT/Southington) completed 27-of-49 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jamie Murphy (Canadaigua, NY/Marcus Whitman), which gave the Pioneers a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Murphy finished the day with four catches for 56 yards.
Utica sophomore kicker Thomas Woodburn (West Islip, NY/West Islip) knocked down two field goals of 22 and 38 yards for the Pioneers. Freshman receiver and return man Jerred Beniquez (Port Ewen, NY/Kingston) hauled in a career-high six catches for the Pioneers, while junior Anthony Acevedo (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) added six catches for 58 yards.
Buffalo State running back Rich Pete, originally from the Utica area, led the Bengals with 72 yards on 15 carries and he scored a third quarter touchdown from 11 yards out to give the Bengals a 14-13 lead with 6:07 left in the quarter.
Buffalo State's fourth quarter push began with a 27 yard touchdown pass from Kacz to Isaiah Clarke at the 8:26 marker. The Bengals then intercepted Butkiewicz on the next drive and used a 58 yard touchdown pass from Kacz to Mike Doherty to extend their lead to 27-19 with 7:21 to go. The Pioneers then fumbled on their ensuing possession and Eddie Webster picked up the fumble and returned it 16 yards for the score to give the Bengals a commanding 34-19 advantage with 7:05 to go in the game.
Kacz finished the day by completing 19 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Doherty led the Bengals with six catches for 106 yards and one touchdown.
UC totaled 373 yards of offense and the Pioneers also earned a five minute advantage in the time of possession category, but three costly turnovers and the tough stretch in the final quarter ultimately led to the Pioneers' demise.
Joe Giametta (Seaford, NY/MacArthur) and Dana Christofferson (Richford, NY/Dryden) totaled ten and nine tackles, respectively for the Pioneers. Karl Simpson (Temple Hill, MD/Crossland) and Anthony Cipoletti (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) each added a sack for the UC defense.
The Pioneers return to the gridiron looking to snap a two game slide next Saturday when they travel to St. John Fisher College for a conference battle with the nationally-ranked No. 25 Cardinals. UC will be on the road for two straight weeks before returning home on November 16 for its final regular season contest against Hartwick College.