Saxon Football Cruises Past Buffalo State in Empire 8 Action, 51-7
BUFFALO, NY – The Alfred University football team extended its win streak to three with an Empire 8 win over Buffalo State College on Saturday evening, 51-7. The Saxons (4-1, 3-0 Empire 8) were led by sophomore running back Nas Smith (Auburn, NY/Auburn) and his three touchdowns with two occurring on the ground in the first half. The lone Bengal score was off a 91-yard run from Martin Bailey in the second quarter as the Saxon defense held Buff State to only 271 yards of total offense. Buffalo State looked like it would be the first team to score in the first quarter as they ate up over six and a half minutes of play clock with a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ended on the Alfred one-yard line. The Bengals' Omar Robinson, on fourth and goal on the one-yard line attempted to punch the ball in but Caleb Marshall (Owego, NY/Owego Free Academy) and Cole Reed (Gratz, PA/Upper Dauphin) held strong and forced the turnover-on-downs. Alfred University responded with a five-play, 99-yard drive touchdown drive that was highlighted with a Ben Burk (Lakewood, NY/Southwestern Central) pass to Kevin Bragaglia (Holbrook, NY/Sachem North) for 76 yards to the Buffalo two-yard line. Smith finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown and was capped off with a Brent Muhlberger Jr. (Gloversville, NY/Gloversville) PAT, making it 7-0 in favor of the Saxons. Buffalo State opened the second quarter with possession in which the Saxon defense forced them back 19 yards, forcing a punt. Bragaglia returned the punt 37 yards to set up the Alfred offense in good field position on the Buffalo 10-yard line. Smith took one run to get into the end zone as he was credited with the game-winning touchdown, despite the missed PAT, going up, 13-0. After the Bengal touchdown by Bailey (13-7) on the ensuing drive, the rest of the game was all Alfred University. On the next Saxon drive, Smith ran it in from four yards out and the Saxons were given a second chance after another missed PAT as Buffalo State was offsides. Instead of re-kicking the ball, Bragaglia ran the ball in for the two-point conversion. The Alfred University defense held the Bengals in their own territory and eventually forced a safety, making it 23-7 going into halftime. "I thought the guys played their most complete game of the season," Head Coach Bob Rankl said. "We definitely were not perfect but overall, I was happy with our performance. We all know that we have a big week of preparation for our upcoming game against Brockport. We are looking forward to what should be a great game." Smith was the lone Saxon to score in the third quarter on a seven-yard pass from Burk, making it 30-7. In the fourth quarter, Alfred University scored three touchdowns from three different Saxons. First, it was Chris Harders (Shirley, NY/Longwood) with a 26-yard touchdown catch from Burk. Then, on defense, Eric Graham (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) picked off a Bengal pass and returned it 35 yards for the 44-7 lead. James Kerr (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) rounded out the scoring efforts for the Saxons with a nine-yard touchdown run in the final eight minutes of play to bring what would become the final score to 51-7. Smith finished the day with 125 yards rushing as he never lost any ground on his 17 attempts (7.4 yards per carry). Burk was 15-of-27 passing with 240 yards and a long of 76. Bragaglia led the receivers with 84 yards on three receptions. Robert Smith Jr. (Rochester, NY/Greece Arcadia) followed with two receptions for 50 yards including a 39-yard catch. On defense, Raeqwon Greer (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) and Jeremy Turenne (Brooklyn, NY/Midwood) joined Graham in Saxons who picked off a Bengal passer in which were returned for a total of 106 yards. Reed led the team in tackles with 11 on the evening as seven of them were solo efforts. Leo Pamphile (Spring Valley, NY/Spring Valley), Rodney Bailey (Buffalo, NY/Hutchinson Central Tech), Nick Milgate (Hilton, NY/Hilton) and Henry Chau (Tallman, NY/Suffern) wreaked havoc in the backfield as all four registered more than one tackles-for-a-loss. Pamphile had three for a loss of 17 total yards including one sack for -13 yards. Bailey had two and a half for a loss of nine yards with a sack for a loss of eight yards. Milgate had two TFL while Chau posted one and a half. Milgate finished with eight total tackles behind Reed. Bragaglia had 100 yards returning between punts and kickoffs as he amassed 63 from his two kickoff returns. Buffalo State's Jamar Rutledge returned eight kickoffs for 115 yards. The Saxons will next host nationally-ranked #4 The College at Brockport on Saturday, October 13 at 1PM at Yunevich Stadium in Empire 8 action.