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Football Visits Buffalo State Looking to Return to Winning Ways
10/01/2004

Frostburg State looks to snap a two-game losing skid when it visits ACFC newcomer Buffalo State Saturday. This is just the third-ever meeting between the two schools. Each team has a win in the brief series. The game can be heard live on 91.9 FM Frostburg or on the internet at www.wfwm.org.

THE GAME
Frostburg State and Buffalo State meet for the just the third time ever and the first time in 19 years Saturday. The teams face off for the first time as Atlantic Central Football Conference foes. The Bobcats have been a member of the conference since its inception in 1998; this marks the first year in the ACFC for the Bengals.

THE TEAMS
Frostburg State looks to snap a two-game losing skid after last week’s 24-10 home loss to SUNY Brockport. The defeat broke the Bobcats’ nine-game ACFC winning streak dating back to the 2001 season. FSU trailed 14-10 entering the fourth quarter, but the Golden Eagles pulled away by scoring the last 10 points. Buffalo State is still seeking its first win of the season after last week’s 28-14 loss to Cortland. The Bengals rallied to tie the game at 14 in the fourth quarter but Cortland scored two touchdowns in a span of 32 seconds late in the contest to clinch the victory.

THE SERIES
The brief series between Frostburg State and Buffalo State is tied 1-1. The Bobcats posted a 20-17 win in the inaugural meeting in 1984, while the Bengals answered with a 24-13 victory in 1985.

THE COACHES
Frostburg State Head Coach Rubin Stevenson (Salisbury ‘87) is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bobcat program. Stevenson, who holds a 20-22 record, has led FSU to two ACFC championships (2002 & 2003), three Regents Cup titles (2001, 2002 & 2003 – awarded to the annual winner of the FSU-Salisbury game) and one ECAC Southwest Championship game appearance (2002). Stevenson’s squad won nine straight ACFC games from October 27, 2001 to September 25, 2004.

Paul Shaffner (Ithaca ‘82) is in his first season as head coach at Buffalo State. Shaffner came to Buffalo after serving four seasons as head coach at Glenville (W.Va.) State College. In just his second year, he led the Pioneers to the West Virginia Intercollgiate Athletic Conference title and was named the WVIAC Coach of the Year. Shaffner began his coaching career as the defensive coordinator at Division III Maine Maritine Academy from 1983 to 1985 and then spent the next two years as a graduate assistant for Joe Paterno at Penn State University. The Nittany Lions won the national championship in his first season with a Fiesta Bowl victory over the University of Miami. Shaffner also served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Lafayette (Pa.) College from 1988 to 1999, helping the team to two Patriot League championships and one Colonial League title. A center at Ithaca, he was a member of the 1979 national championship team and the 1980 national runner-up squad.

SCOUTING THE BENGALS
Buffalo State seeks to return to its glory days of the 1990s when it compiled a 78-26 record, advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs seven times and won two ECAC Northeast championships. The going has been rough so far, as the Bengals are off to an 0-4 start and have been outscored 137-24. Division I-AA Robert Morris, Division III perennial powerhouse Ithaca, two-time ACFC champion Wesley and Cortland have decorated the schedule in the first month.

The Bengal offense has managed just three touchdowns and is averaging 208.2 yards per game. Freshman running back James Perkins leads the Bengals with 195 yards and is coming off his first career 100-yard game (29 carries, 121 yards) last week.

Junior quarterback Mike Mikolaichik has completed 62-of-134 passes for 528 yards and two touchdowns, but he has been intercepted six times. His favorite targets are sophomore Jonathan Allen, who leads the team with 24 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Jeff Shostak, who has grabbed 17 passes for 135 yards.

Senior linebacker Perry Taglienti paces the Bengal defense with 43 tackles, while senior strong safety Nick Warren had added 40 stops. Senior defensive end Michael Holbok, a preseason first-team All-American, has just 13 tackles in four games, but five have been for loss, including four sacks.

THE BOBCATS LAST WEEK
Senior Bob Darnley completed 15-of-28 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns and the SUNY Brockport defense held Frostburg State to 56 total yards in the second half as the Golden Eagles handed the Bobcats a 24-10 loss in Atlantic Central Football Conference action Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium.

Brockport improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the ACFC with the win, while Frostburg State had its nine-game league winning streak snapped and fell to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.

The Golden Eagles looked to strike quickly when Darnley hooked up with Matt McCormick for a 42-yard gain to the Bobcat 33 on the third play of the game. However, back-to-back sacks by senior James Clash and junior Chris Lentz helped turn back the threat.

FSU came out firing, moving from its own 20 to the Brockport eight behind a burst of short passes and strong running by senior Mike Kitchen. But, a holding penalty negated a Kitchen gain to the two, and the Bobcats settled for a 35-yard field goal by Chris Martin and a 3-0 lead.

Brockport had a chance to tie the game on its next possession but Marc Menchetti’s 37-yard field goal try was wide right. FSU continued to move the ball well, marching from its own 20 to the Golden Eagle 20, but freshman Josh Keeney was stripped of the ball and Brockport recovered at its 16.

The Golden Eagles took the lead for good on their ensuing drive, needing just six plays to march 84 yards. Freshman Dan Lopez provided a spark with runs of 15 and 23 yards before Darnley hit Mike Mahoney for a 25-yard gain to the Bobcat four. Junior Jon Brown found the end zone on the next play and Menchetti’s extra point gave the Golden Eagles a 7-3 lead with 10:33 left in the half.

Brockport opened a 14-3 cushion when Darnley hit a leaping Kevin Beaumont in the back of the end zone with 2:46 remaining in the half. The Bobcats countered in the final moments of the second frame as sophomore Jimmy Ward found senior Adam J. Synder for a 27-yard scoring strike to pull FSU within 14-10 with 37 seconds to play.

Brockport had an opportunity to add to its lead on the final play of the half but Menchetti’s 38-yard field goal sailed wide.

The Golden Eagles had another chance to take control in the closing minutes of the third, moving to the Bobcat two, but the FSU defense turned in a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage and forced Brockport to settle for a 27-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth. Darnley then capped the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Mike Bond with 11:23 remaining in the game.

FSU got a little boost when junior Jon Menz stepped in front of a Darnley pass and returned the ball 10 yards to the Bobcat 47 with 7:19 to play, but a bad snap on third down resulted in an 18-yard loss and a punt. Brockport ran out the final 5:49 to seal its fifth straight win over the Bobcats.

Kitchen ran 25 times for 92 yards, while Ward finished 21-of-31 for 187 yards. Lentz paced the defense with nine tackles, including a career-high two sacks.

ODDS AND EVENS
Frostburg State has outscored its opponents in both the first and third quarters this season, 17-9 and 7-0 respectively. However, the tables have been turned in the second and fourth periods. Opponents have outscored the Bobcats 24-14 in the second and 20-0 in the fourth.

SCORING WOES
Frostburg State has scored just 38 points in its first three games, its lowest stretch to start a season since 1987 (37 points). The Bobcats have been held to 14 or fewer points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1988, when they were limited to 0, 10 and 9 points to end the year.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
Frostburg State has trailed entering the fourth quarter in each of its two losses, but not by much. The Bobcats were down 19-14 to nationally ranked Montclair State and 14-10 to previously ranked Brockport; however, both teams outscored FSU 10-0 in the final 15 minutes to pull away.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780
E-mail: sportsinfo@frostburg.edu