Stony Brook University’s football team had 79 yards to go and 1:36 on the clock to complete its comeback attempt against Maine. It turned out to be much more difficult than batting back from a 27-point deficit as the Seawolves lost 27-21. The loss eliminated the Seawolves from contention for the FCS playoffs.
“Disappointed about losing,’’ coach Chuck Priore said. “Certainly, give Maine credit. Real proud of our guys for our second half effort, our ability to be resilient. And leave no regrets on the field.’’
Stony Brook’s rally ended when quarterback Pat Irwin, making his first collegiate start in place of injured Joe Carbone, was intercepted by Najee Goode on the Stony Brook 20-yard line. Maine then ran out the clock, improving its record to 6-4 and 5-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Stony Brook is 5-5, 4-3.
“It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget,’’ Irwin said of his start, “but I wish we could have come out on top today.’’
Irwin’s last pass, a short toss to running back Donald Liotine. It was picked off when Goode used his speed to race in front Liotine, who said he “probably should have caught the ball,’’ but added, “It was a good play by the defender. That’s really all there is to it. He made a good play when he had too.’’
Liotine played a big part in bringing Stony Brook back from the deficit. He scored on a one-yard run with d 4:19 left in the third quarter. Then, Seawolves defensive back Travon Reid-Segure intercepted Maine quarterback Dan Collins on the visitor’s 12-yard line and ran it into the endzone to make the score 27-14 with 3:33 left in the third.
The pendulum has swung Stony Brook’s way. “It definitely did,’’ Reid-Segure said. “It seemed like everybody, the energy just changed. The players, fans, everybody. Everything just seems a lot more exciting.’’
Liotine broke through for a 50-yard run at 11:09 of the fourth and Przemyslaw Popek’s extra point made it a six-point game.
“Obviously it was a good morale boost,’’ Liotine said of his second TD. “Next thing you know you’re right back in the ballgame. I could be losing 38-0 and I’m still going to try to run through your face. I think that’s the mentality we all have, always had and it helped us here. Obviously we couldn’t get it done.’’ Liotine riushed for 94 yards after Maine effectively shut down Jordan Gowins (46) Stacey Bedell (20). Irwin completed five of of 13 passes for 67 yards.
The Seawolves could not contain Maine freshman running back Josh Mack, who rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown. He also a 21-yard TD pass from Collins, who was 16-for-24 and threw for 156 yards.
Mack scored on a 12-yard run in the first, Mozai Nelson recovered a fumble by Irwin and ran 23 yards to the endzone in the second and that was followed by Collins’ scoring pass to Jared Osumah with 28 seconds left in the first half for a 20-0 lead. Mack’s touchdown in the third made it 27-0.
Stony Brook had big victories this season over nationally ranked North Dakota State and Richmond, but lost its last two conference games at home. It will end the season at Albany on Saturday.
Prioe was still focused on the game his team almost pulled out, saying, “When you see the efforts the kids have, that passion and the belief that they could do it. It was a pretty good, surreal feeling.’’