On the heels of a last-second, nail-biting victory, LIU Post football returned to its dominant ways on Saturday.
Especially receiver Michael Richardson.
“I think last week helped us a lot with overcoming adversity,” said the senior receiver, who hauled in eight receptions for 81 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, including a wide open 44-yard play-action toss from Chris Laviano down the right side to give Post its first score of the day in a 37-6 homecoming rout of Saint Anselm. “We didn’t take this team lightly because we saw how we played last game, so we came out hard.”
The Pioneers narrowly escaped with their undefeated record intact on Oct. 6, as a last-second, 34-yard field goal secured a thrilling 41-39 victory over Shippensburg. Post (6-0, 5-0 Northeast-10) followed up in impressive fashion Saturday afternoon by increasing its average margin of victory to 21.6 points per game.
Quarterback Chris Laviano completed 22 of 45 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns on the day, and went 13-for-22 for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the opening half. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Richardson with 2:17 remaining in the second widened the Post advantage to 21-3.
“We’re feeling good right now,” Laviano said. “We have a lot of momentum that’s going to carry us into bigger games”
Richardson’s first touchdown gave the Pioneers a 7-3 edge at the 3:20 mark of the first quarter, and they would never look back. Moments earlier he returned a punt 34 yards and scarcely missed going the distance after being pushed out of bounds by the final Hawk in sight.
Dissatisfied following the return, Richardson said he hoped to make amends.
“That was a close one,” Richardson laughed. “I just needed one block, but I should’ve broken the tackle and gotten into the end zone myself. [Making amends] was definitely my initial thought afterwards.”
He later tacked on a 7-yard touchdown early in the fourth for his third score of the day. The Pioneers led 21-6 at halftime and outscored the Hawks 10-0 in the third to put the game out of reach.
Post was equally as dominant on the defensive side of the ball despite allowing Hawks quarterback Eric Fairweather to run for 119 yards on 17 carries. The Pioneers limited him to just 20-for-47 passing for 152 yards and three interceptions.
“I think we had a good idea of the coverages that we wanted to run,” Post coach Bryan Collins said. “But it started up front with our pass rush. Fairweather was getting us a little bit on the scrambling so we went to more man-to-man and someone spying the quarterback in the second half.”
Sophomore cornerback Nazir Streater had a memorable performance with all three picks. Each of his interceptions occurred in Post territory to thwart potential scoring drives, including his second with 8:29 left in the third at the Pioneers’ 32-yard line, as they led 28-6.
“All week we studied their offense and it was all about play recognition,” Streater said. “I was just making the plays when the ball was thrown toward me. We’re going to keep building.”