The first week of the season, Buffalo State set multiple records for offensive proficiency.
If only the Bengals could have bottled some of that.
Buffalo State's offense has sputtered the last two weeks and on Saturday hit a new frustration level in a 20-7 loss to No. 7 Salisbury in front of 1,029 at Coyer Field.
The Bengals managed just 158 yards of total offense, completed just seven first downs and four times went three-and-out.
Their lone score came in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to the special teams as Jeffrey Moore blocked a field goal attempt and Jordan Boser returned the ball 40 yards to the 10-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Casey Kacz ran into the end zone for the score.
But that was one of the few highlights the Bengals' offense produced.
"It's tough to figure out because we practice great, we get out on the field and see what we expect to see and then we don't execute, whether it's me or someone else," Kacz said. "It starts with me. I've got to throw better balls and be a lot more patient.
"We need to get back on the same page . with everyone doing their job, every play and it starts with me making better reads and better throws."
The Bengals started the game with the ball and had a seven-play, 40-yard drive that lasted 3:15. That was their longest drive - in distance and time - of the game and ended in a punt.
Salisbury then constructed a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that milked more than seven minutes off the clock.
"Honestly, I don't think it helps at all when the other team scores first," Kacz said. "We've got to come out and score on our first drive because that sets the tone for the game. If we go behind, offensively we already feel like we're battling back and that's on us. We got the ball the last two games and we didn't capitalize by scoring first. Our defense played a great game today. Offensively seven points isn't going to get it done."
Aside from that opening drive and a 59-yard pass play in the third quarter, the Bengals defense played a solid game against a Salisbury offense which likes to run the ball. A lot. The Sea Gulls had just three pass attempts for 69 yards. They did not even attempt a pass in the first half. That style of play gave Salisbury control of the clock as the Sea Gulls had the ball for more than 40 minutes and Buffalo State for just 20.
But Bengals coach Jerry Boyes knew what his defense was up against. It was the inability of his offense to respond that was most head-scratching.
"It really causes you to do some reflection which we're going to have to do to figure out why we can't put drives together," Boyes said. "Big plays happen as a result of execution. When you go looking for big plays, very rarely do they happen. So good offensive play is a result of proper execution and blocking and throwing and catching and doing all those things. We've struggled two weeks in a row with that. We've got to take a hard look at that."
The Bengals (2-3) will look for their first win as a member of the Empire 8 conference when they host Utica on Saturday.