Days before the College stepped onto their home turf to take on Buffalo State College, senior quarterback Chris James described his offenses’ scoring potential as “scary.” Following the Lions’ 47-31 Bengal beat down on Saturday, no one is questioning James’ frightening claim.
The Lions walked the walk in their season opener, burning the Bengals for two touchdowns of 40 yards or more, as well as an 82-yard kickoff return touchdown by sophomore Scott Mathurin.
“The right plays were called at the right time and we just executed them perfectly,” junior wide receiver Mattan Hoffman said. “We had a great week of practice and it showed with the great success of each play.”
The Lions came out strong on their first drive, when sophomore running back Justin Doniloski took off for a 46-yard touchdown within the first two minutes of play. Following Mathurin’s return and a goal line TD by junior running back Michael Yetka, the Lions led 21-10 after the first quarter.
“Everyone came to play and everyone was excited,” senior wide receiver Cameron Richardson said. “We had a good scrimmage and practice the week before, and were able to correct things from watching the tape. We were able to play calm, cool and disciplined football.”
The College continued to pound Buffalo State on the ground, rushing for 312 total yards distributed between James, Doniloski, Yetka and senior back Chase Misiura.
Yetka led the Lions on Saturday with 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard burst to the endzone in the second quarter.
“The plan is usually to go in balanced, keep the defense guessing and not run too much, but we saw that running the ball was being effective so we just kept going with that until it stopped,” Richardson said.
“It was just an overall offensive effort, running backs ran hard and hit the holes with authority while the offensive line provided those massive gaps,” Hoffman added. “Everyone carried out their job and performed it just as done in practice.”
The College’s defense, although lenient in the first half allowing 24 points, shut down its New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) foes in the second half, allowing only one fourth quarter touchdown and forcing a safety.
“It seemed like (the defense) got those first half jitters out and were able to play more calm and relaxed football,” Richardson said.
James and the Lions’ passing attack were not much of a factor in the victory, accounting for a scarce 109 yards.
The College will have a while to soak in their first victory, as they do not take on Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham until Sept. 18. The Devils edged out the Lions 42-41 in their season opener last year.
“The coaches do a good job of keeping us motivated on long layoffs like this with high intensity practices,” Richardson said.