HARRISONBURG, Va. — Joe Carbone, the Stony Brook junior quarterback, laid on the ground after taking a hard hit early in the first quarter from James Madison linebacker Brandon Hereford on Saturday.
“I was fine. I just took a shot,” said Carbone, who sat out a play before he returned.
That was the start of a long afternoon for Carbone, who threw five interceptions as the unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Dukes (12-0) defeated the Seawolves, 26-7, in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision national playoffs before 16,449 fans on a chilly but dry day in the Shenandoah Valley.
“He was fibbing to you. His shoulder was bothering him,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said.
Stony Brook, ranked No. 10 in the country, fell behind 19-0 at halftime and ends the season 10-3 overall after winning five games in each of the previous four seasons. JMU, the defending national champion which has won 24 in a row, will host the winner of Saturday night’s game between Southern Utah and Weber State.
“Obviously they are a good football team,” Priore said of the Dukes. “When you win that many games in a row you are a great football team. I thought the game was closer than the scoreboard. We didn’t perform up to our capabilities. [But] we are excited about getting ready for next year.”
Carbone threw the five interceptions after having only three in the first 12 games of the season. He completed 15 of 36 passes for 207 yards against JMU, which entered the game leading the nation with only 9.0 points allowed per game.
JMU quarterback Bryan Schor completed 17 of 23 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Dukes wide receiver Terrence Alls had eight catches in the first half and 10 overall. Schor was 26 of 35 overall for 255 yards.
Stony Brook held JMU to only 49 running yards on 38 carries. But it took the Dukes just 2:35 to go 74 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive. Schor threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Trai Sharp to make it 6-0 as the Dukes missed the extra point.
JMU’s Jordan Brown got his seventh interception of the year when he picked off a pass across the middle by Carbone midway through the second quarter. After the turnover, Ethan Ratke hit a 37-yard field goal to give JMU a 9-0 lead with 9:19 left in the first half.
A special team breakdown by Stony Brook allowed a 49-yard punt return by D’Angelo Amos. After a pass interference in the end zone by Gavin Heslop, JMU’s Schor passed to Alls for a touchdown. The extra point gave the Dukes a 16-0 lead with 1:53 left in the first half.
“Those plays you can’t get back. Things like that, they bite you in the butt,” said Seawolves senior rover Tyrice Beverette, who had 10 tackles.
Ratke, after another interception, connected on a 20-yard field goal with 48 seconds left in the first half to make it 19-0.
JMU’s Jimmy Moreland came up with the third interception after the ball went off the hands of Stony Brook’s Harrison Jackson with 2:37 left in the third quarter. The Dukes then drove for a touchdown to make it 26-0 as Taylor Woods scored over from the 1.
Stony Brook finally got on the board with 11:40 left in the game as Jackson (seven catches) hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Carbone to make it 26-7.
“We overcame adversity over the years,” Beverette said. “We have always preached we wanted to make it a winning environment. It is bigger than the seniors. Hopefully they can keep it going.”