Courtesy of William Paterson Athletics
- William Paterson owned a slight advantage in total offense, but visiting Buffalo State took advantage of four Pioneer turnovers to score 20 of its as the Bengals came away with a 34-20 road win in a battle of orange and black teams on Halloween weekend Oct. 30 at Wightman Stadium.
William Paterson owned a 363-337 edge in total offense, including a 231-162 margin through the air, but an interception and three fumbles lost allowed Buffalo State to work with a short field for much of the afternoon.
Each team punted to start the game before Matt Reggio (Commack, N.Y./Commack) caught a Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) pass but had the ball ripped from his arms by Kevin Healy near midfield. The Bengal offense responded with a 12-play, 60-yard scoring drive that included two fourth-down conversions. Greg Spears finished off the possession, cutting back inside before darting back out to the left pylon for a 24-yard touchdown. Nick Debbins’ extra point was good for a 7-0 score with 4:17 left in the first quarter.
Gresik picked up the first down on third-and-four but fumbled just pass the marker, a loose ball that Buffalo State’s Joe Schriever recovered at the BSC-47. Five plays later, Ryan Lehotsky found Ben Mauer, who picked up a block and was able to find the end zone from 41 yards out. After a false start backed the Bengals up five yards, Debbins’ kick was wide left, leaving it a 13-0 score with 14:21 to play in the first half.
A great play by the William Paterson punt team forced Buffalo State to start its next drive on its own three-yard line, and on the next snap the Pioneers dropped Spears in the end zone for WP’s third safety of the year (13-2, 12:13). William Paterson got the ball back and marched down to the BSC 11-yard line before freshman Cory Mundt (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) connected on a 28-yard field goal with 7:38 on the clock in the second quarter, making it a 13-5 contest.
The Pioneers got a break when BSC punter Adam Hauser mishandled a good snap, allowing junior Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) to snare the football at the Buffalo State 40-yard line. William Paterson later attempted a 30-yard field goal but it missed wide right with 3:05 remaining before halftime. The Pioneers had one last chance to score before the break, but Chris Thomas’ (West Milford, N.J./West Milford) fake field-goal pass didn’t connect with sophomore tight end Joseph Cordato (Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne) in the end zone during the final 20 seconds of the period.
Dudek intercepted Lehotsky at the Pioneers’ 45-yard line to begin the second half, but William Paterson could not take advantage and was forced to punt. Dudek made another outstanding special teams effort five plays later when he blocked Hauser’s punt, and the Pioneers started their next drive at the Bengal-31.
A sack of Gresik by Jordan Boser on fourth-and-nine from the Buffalo State 15-yard line gave the ball back to the Bengals on downs. Lehotsky later found a wide-open Rob Smith for a 62-yard touchdown, and the PAT handed Buffalo State a 20-5 edge with 5:44 left in the third quarter.
Cordato fumbled on the second play of the Pioneers’ next drive and Boser returned it 28 yards for a first-and-10 at the WP-20. After a Smith 15-yard end around, Spears picked up the final five yards off right tackle, scoring untouched to help hand his team a 27-5 lead with 4:19 showing on the clock in the third. Boser then ended the next William Paterson possession with an interception, but the William Paterson defense held and forced a three-and-out.
A face mask penalty wiped away a sack by the Bengal defense on third-and-eight, handing the Pioneers a first down at the BSC-11. Gresik wasted no time, completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior Joe Muraglia, Jr. (Belleville, N.J./Queen of Peace). Mundt tacked on the extra point for a 27-13 score 1:01 into the fourth quarter.
The Pioneers were unsuccessful with the on-side kick, and Buffalo State took advantage of the short field by covering the 39 yards on just four plays, the last a six-yard pass-and-catch from Lehotsky to Ben Mauer (34-13, 11:54).
Gresik bounced a run outside for an 18-yard score with 10:13 to play (34-20), but Buffalo State responded by chewing up 7:34 of the clock with a 13-play drive, finally coming to a halt after a Pioneer goal-line stand on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. William Paterson was 0-for-3 on pass attempts and was forced to punt from its own end zone with 2:05 left, effectively ending the Pioneers’ comeback hopes.
Gresik was 21-for-40 for 231 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added 43 yards, including the 18-yard touchdown, on 12 carries while being sacked four times for -16 yards. Sophomore Dawys German (North Arlington, N.J./North Arlington) had 17 rushes for 41 yards, and classmate Chris Manfredo (Staten Island, N.J./Tottenville) caught nine passes for 102 yards.
Dudek made nine tackles (four solo), recovered a fumble, made an interception and blocked a punt to lead the Pioneer defense. Sophomore linebacker Jimmie Ray Ragland (Somerset, N.J./Franklin) and senior defensive lineman Dan Nunez (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J./Paramus Catholic) each made eight stops, and senior cornerback Leer Biddle (Sicklerville, N.J./Lenape) had seven tackles.
Lehotsky was 6-for-19 for 162 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for Buffalo State. Spears carried 16 times for 70 yards and two scores, and Ben Mauer caught two touchdown passes for a total of 47 yards.
Healy paced the Bengal defense with nine tackles (eight solo), a fumble forced and recovered. Cory Martin made six stops, and Boser had five tackles, 1.0 sack, an interception and a fumble recovery.
William Paterson will visit Cortland Saturday, Nov. 6, at 1:00 p.m.