Jordan Gowins scores a touchdown in the Seawolves’ victory over Wagner on Nov. 11, 2017. ANNA CORREA/STATESMAN FILE

No. 18 FCS-ranked Stony Brook Football dominated the Rhode Island Rams 52-14 in its homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

The best way to head into the biggest game of your season is to dominate the week before in order to build momentum, and the Seawolves did just that. Stony Brook ran for 354 yards and held Rhode Island, a team that was averaging 37 points per game on the year, to a season-low of just 14.

The victory was key in the Seawolves’ preparation for their biggest test of the season next week when they go to Harrisonburg, Virginia to play the top-seeded James Madison Dukes.

“You always want to be playing well when you’re going to play the best,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “That’s the best team in our conference. It’s nationally ranked in the top five. It won the national championship two years ago and went to the national championship last year.”

Stony Brook struck first with nine minutes left in the first quarter when senior running back Jordan Gowins plunged in from a yard out to make it 7-0. Both Gowins and fellow senior running back Donald Liotine went over 100 rushing yards for the fourth time this season.

A 35-yard field goal by senior kicker Alex Lucansky at the end of the first quarter extended the lead to 10-0. The Seawolves then pushed their advantage to 17-0 about midway through the second quarter when senior quarterback Joe Carbone found redshirt-senior wide receiver Julius Wingate for a 33-yard touchdown pass. That score blossomed into 24-0 with five minutes left in the same quarter when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Tyquell Fields found senior tight end Cal Daniels for a two-yard touchdown. Fields was featured on a handful of plays during the game and was praised for his work ethic by Priore.

“Tyrell practices everyday like he’s the starter,” Priore said. “And we have the ability to use him as a weapon on offense.”

The Rams finally cracked the scoring column right before halftime when junior running back Naim Jones pounded it in from a yard out to cut the Seawolves’ lead to 24-7. However, they couldn’t build off that on the opening drive of the second half and had to punt the ball back. The Seawolves took advantage and drove it down the field, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by Liotine to make it 31-7.

Gowins scored his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard run to increase the Stony Brook advantage to 38-7 in the third quarter. The score remained that way until the beginning of the fourth quarter when Carbone took one in from three yards out, making the score 45-7. A five-yard run by sophomore running back Kameron Pickett with nine minutes left in the game made it 52-7. Rhode Island’s other touchdown of the game came on Jones’ second rushing touchdown, this time from two yards out, to give the final score of 52-14.

The Seawolves will now hit the road to go take on the Dukes on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m. Priore understands that they’re playing the top competition, but it won’t change their approach.

“We’re playing against [Goliath]. We’ll be the underdog by a lot. So be it,” he said. “We’ll have to prepare correctly and take the correct attitude and go down there and play Stony Brook football and see what happens.”