Stony Brook Football kept rolling on Saturday, grinding out a 25-17 victory over the Towson Tigers at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Junior quarterback Joe Carbone led the way for the Seawolves, surpassing his career-high passing yardage in just the first half. By the game’s end, Carbone had a career-high 22 completions for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think he’s dialed in… He believes in himself,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “He’s protecting the ball. He’s making great decisions and he’s running the offense well.”
Carbone’s statline this season supports his coach’s assessment. After throwing only five touchdowns in 19 career games entering the 2017 season, the junior has already completed seven touchdown passes through four games this season.
“He’s running our game plan,” Priore said. He’s not forcing it anywhere. He’s finding the opening receivers. I’m happy he’s playing where he is.”
The first touchdown on Saturday was a 24-yard pass to senior wide receiver Ray Bolden, who spent the evening running all over the field for a career-high 125 yards. Carbone also found Bolden on a 40-yard bomb in the second quarter.
“I trust Joe and he trusts me,” Bolden said. “There’s times out there where he’ll look at me and give me a nod and we’re usually always on the same page. Joe’s just doing what Joe does.”
The Carbone and Bolden connection was a driving force in the game – at one point Bolden departed with a tweaked left hamstring and the offense immediately fell flat until the senior returned. However, all weapons in the Stony Brook arsenal were operating on high levels.
On the ground, the Seawolves had two ball carriers with 65+ yards. Senior running back Stacey Bedell had 15 carries for 65 yards and junior running back Donald Liotine Jr. had 13 carries for 67 yards. Liotine also had 97 return yards.
Despite missing two starters to injury on the offensive line, the Seawolves produced 384 yards of total offense. Senior left guard Armani Garrick snapped a 36 consecutive start streak and sophomore center Joe Detorie was also out. Sophomore right guard Mason Zimmerman switched over to the left side and junior right guard Jonathan Haynes filled in on the right.
“Jonathan Haynes stepped in and did a great job. And so did [redshirt freshman center] Anthony Catapano,” Carbone said. “I trust those guys, they trust me.”
On special teams, junior kicker Alex Lucansky had four field goals, more than the Seawolves had all last season. His longest field goal was a 42-yard kick with 10:43 left in the third quarter.
“It’s been the best thing we’ve done all year. I think our special teams won every game against our competition,” Priore said. “It’s been really tremendous.”
A confluence of defensive prowess, offensive efficiency and special teams reliability came together late in the fourth quarter. With under six minutes to go, the Stony Brook defense was tasked with protecting a 22-17 lead. Towson drove down the field to the Stony Brook 44-yard line, where they were faced with a 4th and inches.
“Instead of crumbling with our back against the wall, fourth and one, we were telling each other this is what we live for,” senior safety Tyrice Beverette said. “We felt the energy and we felt we had it before the play had ever even started.”
Tigers redshirt-freshman quarterback Ryan Stover handed the ball off to freshman wide receiver Kobe Young on a jet sweep to the right side. At that point Young had 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. As soon as Young turned the corner, he slammed into a wall of Seawolves defenders.
The ball ended up on the ground and sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Scarbrough scooped it up, taking it 38 yards into Towson territory. A 15-yard block-in-the-back penalty on Beverette was tacked on at the end of run.
Carbone and company took the field, ran time off the clock and got the ball to the six-yard line. Lucansky came on the field and kicked his second field goal of the quarter, giving Stony Brook a 25-17 lead with 1:44 to go.
“There was no doubt he would make those field goals,” Priore said. “Feels good, those are four more than we made all of last year. So really helpful.”
The only other score came in the hands of graduate wide receiver Harrison Jackson, who fought off a Towson defender for a one-yard touchdown reception with 11 seconds left in the first half. Jackson’s father, Gerald, played for the Towson defense from 1978-1981. He was at LaValle Stadium yesterday, begrudgingly rooting for his son’s team.
Beverette and junior linebacker Noah McGinty led the way on defense with eight tackles apiece. Senior nose tackle Ousmane Camara had a sack.
Stony Brook continues CAA play next Saturday at 6 p.m., traveling to Williamsburg, Virginia to play William and Mary at Walter J. Zable Stadium. Last year, the Griffins defeated the Seawolves 14-9 at Stony Brook.