Stony Brook Seawolves played Bryant Bulldogs at the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on September 8th, 2018. In 2017, Sophomore Linebacker EJ Fineran played in seven games, and recorded six total tackles. ABHISHEK CHERATH/THE STATESMAN

Stony Brook Football came into its Saturday, Sept. 8 game against Bryant hoping for a breath of fresh air. Last week’s 38-0 loss to Air Force left the Seawolves stomaching the bitter taste of defeat, but yesterday’s 50-21 victory at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium refreshed them.

Midway through the third quarter, it looked like the team would gag on its attempt to rinse out but ultimately emerged feeling clean. The Seawolves jumped out to a 20-0 lead, squandered it briefly, but powered back to emerge victorious in their home opener.

All three components of the team contributed to the scoring — the offense scored four times, the defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns and special teams came up with a blocked punt that it returned for a touchdown.

“It felt awesome to get a win under our belt,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “We were ready to play and I thought we came out really excited to play, specifically offensively.”

The Seawolves offense bounced back from a week one performance in which they had 75 yards and four first downs, amassing 426 total yards and averaged a little over seven yards per play. Both senior running back Jordan Gowins and senior running back Donald Liotine went over 100 yards on the ground, while Liotine added a receiving touchdown.

“Those two guys really came to play,” Priore said. “I’m happy with their progress and I think that our offensive line played much better.”

Stony Brook was the first to crack the scoring column almost three minutes through the first quarter when senior quarterback Joe Carbone ran the ball in from a yard out. Carbone added another rushing touchdown, this time from nine yards out, at the end of the first to extend the Seawolves lead to 13-0.

The score remained that way until five minutes left in the second quarter when redshirt-sophomore linebacker EJ Fineran picked off Bryant redshirt-senior quarterback Price Wilson and ran it back 79 yards for a touchdown, giving Stony Brook a 20-point lead. Bryant finally got on the board a minute later when Price found senior wide receiver Vincent Nisivoccia for a 27-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 20-7 heading into halftime.

Wilson and Nisivoccia hooked up for another touchdown at the beginning of the third quarter, this time from 14 yards out, which trimmed the Stony Brook lead to six. The Bulldogs then took a 21-20 lead with a little under seven minutes left when redshirt-sophomore running back Alfred Dorbor punched it in from two yards out. The Seawolves didn’t panic and scored on the next drive when Carbone threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Liotine, regaining a 27-21 lead.

“You could just feel that energy,” Liotine said of that drive. “Once we were pushing into the red zone, we knew that that would be a turning point in the game if we can execute down there.”

Stony Brook built upon the regained momentum toward the end of the third quarter when freshman defensive lineman Casey Williams blocked a Bryant punt and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown. After junior kicker Nick Courtney’s field goal made it a 37-21 game, Gowins added a 27-yard touchdown and junior defensive back Damarcus Miller returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the game, wrapping up a dominant 50-21 victory.

The Seawolves will travel to the Bronx next Saturday, Sept. 15, to take on the Fordham Rams at Jack Coffey Field. The game will begin at 6 p.m.