Stony Brook looks ready for prime time.
The Seawolves opened Colonial Athletic Association play Saturday night with an absolutely dominant 36-10 win over Richmond before 6,272 at LaValle Stadium.
The high-octane offense clicked. The defense bent, but didn’t break. And SBU showed it can make big plays or pick a defense apart.
Ranked 20th nationally in the STATS FCS poll and riding a three-game winning streak, Stony Brook (3-1, 1-0) looks as ready as it will ever be to host No. 15 Villanova on Saturday.
There was no denying the Seawolves looked great with the ball. They had 482 yards from scrimmage with running backs Jordan Gowins rolling up 192 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and Donald Liotine going for 133 yards on 18 rushes.
Quarterback Joe Carbone was 11-for-18 passing for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We’re winning games, so things are obviously pretty good,” Liotine said of the offense. “Our [offense] has a good thing going with the run and pass games .<TH><MK0>.<TH><MK0>. We’re taking care of the little things. We have a complete package. We’re executing when we need to.”
This was the third straight game that both Gowins and Liotine — a pair of Long Islanders who the school is dubbing “The Long Island Express” — both went for more than 100 yards.
“These two particularly finish runs. The mark of great backs is to not get caught from behind and come out with positive yards after contact,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said. “These two do it well.”
The defensive unit had a deceptively good game, too. Richmond (2-2, 0-1) has a powerful offense and it totaled 407 yards and several big plays on the Seawolves. But SBU did well in places that matter most. It held the Spiders to 3-for-15 on third downs. Richmond drove into the red zone just twice and scored once. Both teams recovered a fumble but Stony Brook’s recovery was a doozy.
Richmond was driving late in the first quarter of a 3-3 game when quarterback Kevin Johnson’s toss to running back Deontez Thompson went astray. SBU’s Gavin Heslop scooped up the fumble and raced untouched for 87 yards to give the Seawolves a lead they would not relinquish.
“I haven’t had a touchdown in my college career yet, so when I saw it on the floor, I had to scoop it. It was the cleanest scoop I ever made in my life,” the cornerback said. “I got past the quarterback and was hoping my legs don’t cramp.”
SBU’s defense has scored in three straight games and four times overall this season.
“I know we gave up 400 yards, but they only got 10 points,” Heslop said.
Stony Brook upped the score to 16-3 before halftime as Carbone connected with Julius Wingate for a 22-yard touchdown pass, the receiver’s first career score. Carbone hit Donavin Washington with a 48-yard TD pass just before the end of the third quarter for a 22-10 lead.
SBU iced the win with a pair of fourth-quarter TDs. On the first, Liotine and Gowins pummeled the Spiders over seven plays and 51 yards with the latter finishing on a 1-yard run.
“Watching [Liotine] run just gives me energy,” Gowins said.
Gowins broke away for a 41-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.