Saxons win wild double-overtime shootout over Buff State in E8 opener
ALFRED, NY – In a game that had no shortage of exciting twists and turns, the Alfred University football team knocked off visiting Buffalo State, 39-33, before a capacity Homecoming crowd Saturday afternoon at Yunevich Stadium.
The Saxons (3-1, 1-0 Empire 8) won in double-overtime in their Empire 8 Conference opener, a week after rallying from a 28-point halftime deficit to edge host Brockport, 34-28, in overtime. This one looked good for the Saxon faithful early, as AU scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions to take a 20-0 lead with 2:50 left in the opening frame. The PAT after the third TD missed, which would play a role in an exciting finish to regulation.
AU senior Austin Dwyer (Hornell, NY/Hornell) opened the scoring with a one-yard run 3:57 into the game, capping off the Saxons’ seven-play, 48-yard opening drive. After a Buff State punt, senior fullback Chuck Beckwith (Victor, NY/Victor) scored on a 16-yard pass from freshman quarterback Tyler Johnson (East Syracuse, NY/East Syracuse-Minoa) and Alfred led 14-0 midway through the first.
AU got the ball back near midfield when junior cornerback Michael Perkins (Rochester, NY/East) intercepted Bengal quarterback Casey Kacz and returned the ball near midfield. AU would punt, but the Bengals fumbled the return and AU recovered at the Buff State 8-yard line. Three plays later, Johnson hit senior wideout David Lee Tack (Newark, NY/Newark) with a one-yard TD pass. The PAT failed and Alfred led 20-0.
Buff State scored with 24 seconds left in the second quarter and AU held a 20-7 lead at intermission. Kacz scored on a six-yard run on Buff State’s opening drive of the third and the Saxons led by six points (20-14) with 11:44 left in the frame. After Dwyer scored on a 10-yard run to cap a 55-yard drive with 31 seconds left in the third, AU held a 27-14 advantage.
Buff State came back in the fourth, as tailback Rich Pete scored 3:11 into the quarter to cap a 74-yard drive and make the score 27-21. After an Alfred punt gave Buff State the ball at its own 21-yard line, Kacz marched the Bengals down the field, completing a 48-yard pass to give his team a first down at the Saxon 4-yard line before hitting Ryan Carney with a two-yard TD pass to tie it at 27-27 with 6:09 left in regulation. The Bengals’ potential game-winning extra point was blocked by sophomore defensive back Dave Bennett (Medford, NY/Longwood).
Each team had two possessions before the horn sounded to end regulations. Buff State and Alfred exchanged punts and each turned the ball over: Buff State on downs and Alfred on an interception as time ran out in the fourth.
A nail biter of an overtime began with Dwyer rushing for his third TD of the game on the Saxons’ fourth play in the extra session. Senior tailback Tyler DeRosa (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place) ran 18-yards to the Buff State 7-yard line to set up Dwyer’s score. The PAT failed and the Saxons’ led 33-27. AU seemingly had the game won when senior defensive back Seiji Hinton (Freeport, NY/Freeport) intercepted Kacz’s third-down pass in the endzone, but Hinton was stripped of the ball and Buff State recovered in the endzone for a touchdown. The game remained tied, however, when the Bengals’ extra point try failed.
After AU shut down Buff State on its drive in the second overtime, the Saxons opened their drive with DeRosa carrying for 15 yards to the Bengal 10. Three plays later, on third down from the 4-yard line, Dwyer ran in for the game-winning touchdown, setting of a raucous celebration by the AU players and Homecoming crowd.
The teams combined for more than 800 yards of offense. Dwyer had 13 carries for 26 yards but scored four touchdowns. Johnson had 56 yards and DeRosa 44 as the Saxons ran for 155 as a team. Johnson completed 22 of 39 passes for 201 yards and a pair of TDs and was intercepted three times. Tack had six catches for 60 yards and a score; senior wideout Josh Phillips (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) had five for 57; and senior tight end Alec Ladonis (Nescopeck, PA/Berwick) had four for 27.
Kacz passed for 333 yards, with two scores and three interceptions. Wideout Mike Doherty had six catches for 155 yards and Carney had three for 47 and two TDs. Pete finished with 130 yards on 23 carries.
Hinton had a huge game for the Saxon defense, tallying 10 tackles, including three for loss and a sack, a forced fumble and an interception. Sophomore middle linebacker Corry Wallace (Mastic Beach, NY/Longwood) had 15 tackles and a pair of pass breakups; freshman nose guard Zack Bacon (Hornell, NY/Hornell) had five tackles (two for loss), including a sack; sophomore strong safety Mike Berardi (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville) had nine tackles (1 ½ for loss) and two pass breakups; and senior linebacker D.J. Welch (Avon, NY/Avon) had six tackles and an interception.
Scott Koen led Buff State (2-3, 0-2 Empire 8) with 10 tackles (three for loss). Chris Hall had four tackles and a pair of interceptions and Eddie Weiser had five tackles (1 ½ for loss) and an interception.
Alfred is in action next on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m. at Ithaca.
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