NEWARK, D.E., November 17, 2017 – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) football team defeated Buffalo State, 35-20, on Friday night to win the 2017 The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Clayton Chapman Bowl, which was held at University of Delaware Stadium.
The win was the Mariners' first in a postseason game since 1997, when they won the ECAC Southwest Bowl. USMMA ends the 2017 season with a 6-4 record, which highest win total since the 2003 season, when the Mariners also went 6-4.
The Mariners rushed for 419 yards on 76 attempt, with senior quarterback Brice Moore leading the way by rushing for 130 yards on 25 carries, while finding the end zone three times. For his efforts, Moore was named as the bowl game's Most Valuable Player.
A total of three USMMA players rushed for over 100 yards, as junior fullback Wiley Martin rushed for 117 yards with two scores and junior fullback Joseph Bellomo rushed for 106 yards.
Defensively, sophomore Reno Dubreuil led Merchant Marine with 11 tackles, including two sacks for combined losses of three yards. junior Jacob Davis recorded seven stops with 1.5 for losses, including a half-sack. Freshman Noah Newburgh came up with a big blocked punt in the second quarter that set up a Mariner touchdown and junior Brooks Cannell had the game's only turnover with a fourth-quarter interception that sealed the victory.
For the Bengals, who end the season with a 6-5, record senior quarterback Kyle Hoppy threw for 187 yards on 11-for-23 passing, while senior wide receiver Ricky Bailey caught hauled in six catches for 114 yards.
Senior linebacker Bart Mazzara led all players in the game with 20 tackles and senior linebacker Justin Pender made 11 stops for Buffalo State.
Merchant Marine scored 19 unanswered points, culminating with a two-yard run with 8:31 left in the third quarter by Moore. Buffalo State would get as close as 12 at 32-20 when Hoppy ran from 4-yards out with 13:07 left in the fourth.
Merchant Marine would tack on a field goal from 32-yards out by senior kicker Jake McDonough with 3:59 left in the fourth. The Mariners controlled the clock, holding the ball for 36:11, and were efficient on third down, converting on 12 of 20 chances.