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With 13 seconds left in the game, Utica’s Andrew Benkwitt threw his sixth touchdown pass of the game, a 10-yard connection with Jeremy Meier for a 51-44 win over Buffalo State at Coyer Field Saturday afternoon.
Utica had taken a 21-16 halftime lead, but the Bengals scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter. Quarterback Casey Kacz opened the second-half scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run. Rich Pete added a 35-yard touchdown run and Manny Brooks scored from 6-yards out.
By the end of the third quarter, Buffalo State had a 37-21 lead.
The Pioneers and Bengals traded touchdowns to start the fourth quarter.
Then Utica capitalized on a pair of turnovers.
Buffalo State’s Sherman Nelson fumbled a punt and Utica recovered on the Bengals’ 33 yard line with 4:39 left to play.
The Pioneers then constructed a five-play, 33-yard drive capped off with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Benkwitt to Meier. A two-point conversion tied the game, 44-44.
Buffalo State took over with 2:47 to play on its own 15 yard line. The Bengals started to move the ball, but Kacz was sacked and fumbled. Utica recovered at the 40 with 34 seconds left in regulation. Four plays later, Benkwitt and Meier again connected for the winning touchdown.
Benkwitt finished the game with 398 passing yards, completing 38 of his 58 passes.
Kacz threw for 288 yards completing 18 of his 31s.
Buffalo State fell to 2-4 overall, 0-3 in the Empire 8. Utica improved to 3-2 overall, 1-1 in the Empire 8. The Bengals play at Ithaca next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Erie Community College dropped a 50-6 decision to Lackawanna College (Pa.) at Jim Ball Stadium.
Quarterback Will Robinson ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the first half for the only score of the day for the Kats (2-4, 1-3 NEFC).
ECC linebacker Devin Coney tied the school record with 14 tackles.