NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The LIU Post football team moved one step closer to an undefeated regular season on Saturday.
Chris Laviano completed 17 of 28 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and Michael Richardson hauled in both touchdown receptions as Post held on for a 24-13 road victory over NE-10 rival Southern Connecticut State.
Another key tone-setter for the Pioneers was running back Jonathan DeBique, who rushed for 114 yards on 21 carries.
Post coach Bryan Collins discussed the change of pace that DeBique provides in comparison to primary back Malik Pierre, who added 18 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s a good look for us to get Malik the ball in different positions on the field and it also opens up the running game a little bit for DeBique as well,” Collins said. “He’s a bigger back than Malik. Malik is a shifty, move-people-around type of back. Jonathan is more of a slashing type of running back that gets down to pad level very well and is powerful.”
Laviano continued to give the Pioneers (9-0 overall, 8-0 NE-10) quality play at quarterback through “wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour,” according to Collins.
“We’ve had two weeks in a row now where it’s become very challenging to put the ball in the air,” Collins said. “But Chris has such a good arm and tight spiral that he’s able to throw a little bit better than other quarterbacks when they have wind conditions like this. It was hard to play but I thought he was great.”
Pierre’s 1-yard rushing touchdown with 11:21 left in the third gave Post a three-possession lead at 17-0, but Southern Connecticut responded with two unanswered touchdowns. A 27-yard touchdown run by Eli Parks cut the Pioneer lead to 17-13 with 8:33 to go. He recorded 124 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Looking for a quality drive with 8:25 remaining, the Pioneers produced that and much more. Post drove 75 yards over six minutes and 11 seconds, capping it off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Richardson that extended the lead to 24-13 with 2:14 remaining.
“We just needed a big drive like that,” Collins said. “We did a great job of staying on the field and running the clock all the way down.”
Post now turns its attention to next week’s regular-season showdown against New Haven, which also improved to 8-0 in the NE-10 Saturday after its 49-21 win over Saint Anselm. The winner of next Saturday’s game wins the conference title. The NCAA Division II playoffs beginn Nov. 17th. Post was ranked third in Super Region 1 this week.
“I think the kids are happy with where we’re at right now,” Collins said. “We’re hitting our goals with one game left in the season.”