CORTLAND — Senior quarterback Casey Kacz (Sweet Home) had five touchdowns and helped Buffalo State play keep away from Cortland State on Saturday as the Bengals opened their football season with a 41-28 non-conference win before 4,462 at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
Kacz ran for three of them as part of his 118-yard rushing performance on 17 attempts. He also completed 19-of-29 passes for 226 yards and two scores as Buff State, which was outgained by 475-399, slowed the Red Dragons down by holding the ball for 37 minutes, 54 seconds.
“Sometimes you need to be good and lucky,” Buffalo State coach Jerry Boyes said. “Today we had some of both. We had a chance to put the game away and missed an opportunity, but I think it was a real good sign to pull out a character win to start the season.”
Cortland needed just 20 seconds to take a 7-0 lead on a 67-yard run by Dylan Peebles, but Buffalo State scored the next 21 points to take the lead for good. Caesarae Lewis’ 3-yard TD catch with 4:10 left in the first quarter tied it. Kacz then rushed for scores of 1 and 5 yards in the second quarter. Cortland scored with 15 seconds left in the first half to pull within 21-14 on a 58-yard TD catch by John Babin from Tyler Augliano (23 for 47, 400 yards, three TDs, one interception).
Kacz gave the Bengals a two-touchdown edge again, scoring on a 13-yard run at 7:40 of the third. On Buffalo State’s next possession, Kacz hooked up on a 37-yard score with Mike Doherty (Kenmore East), who made five catches for 104 yards.
Mitchell Thomas (Sweet Home) led the Bengals’ defense with nine tackles. Joe Going matched a school record with a 75-yard punt in the first quarter.
The Bengals host Brockport State at 2 p.m. Saturday.