Harrison Jackson sensed it was his moment to deliver for Stony Brook.
When leading receiver Ray Bolden went down with an injury on the final offensive play of the game and Stony Brook missed a potential winning 48-yard field goal as time expired, quarterback Joe Carbone and Jackson couldn’t wait for overtime to start.
“Ray’s my brother,” Jackson said. “I love that guy, so to see him get hurt, that really pushed me. I didn’t want to let him down so when I went out there I wanted to make sure I played my heart out for him because that’s what he does every play.”
And it only took Jackson two plays to do just that Saturday, as Carbone found the senior for a 12-yard pass followed by a 13-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass as Stony Brook defeated Albany, 28-21, in overtime in Colonial Athletic Association football at LaValle Stadium.
The Seawolves’ defense forced an incompletion on fourth down following Jackson’s touchdown for the victory.
“That was all about Harrison,” Carbone said. “He had his corner beat twice in a row. I probably should have thrown to him more during the game.”
Stony Brook improved to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the CAA. The win doesn’t guarantee the Seawolves a playoff spot, but it puts them in very good shape for one of the 24 FCS playoff bids.
“I’m really happy for this team,” coach Chuck Priore said. “We knew Albany was a good football team and had lost a lot of close games throughout the year, so really just happy the ending happened the way it did.”
Albany (3-6, 1-5) forced overtime with a 19-play, 96-yard drive in 9:23, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Karl Mofor to tie the score at 21 with 1:34 remaining in the game.
“We learned that these guys have fight because as you’ve seen in previous years, we didn’t put our head down in the third quarter when we started seeing them come back,” SBU defensive back Tyrice Beverette said. “We put our heads down last year and we found a way to lose it. This year, we chose a different route. We’ve been finding ways to win these games that nobody believed in us to win.”
Stony Brook set the tone early when Justin Burns forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, which Deyshaun Tucker recovered at Albany’s 13-yard line. Donald Liotine scored on a 6-yard run two minutes into the game.
The Seawolves created another turnover when Shayne Lawless forced a fumble in the backfield, which Travon Reid-Segure recovered on the 9-yard line. That led to a 4-yard touchdown run by Stacey Bedell and gave SBU a 14-7 lead with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.
“As a quarterback, there’s nothing we like more than the defense creating a turnover or the special teams creating a turnover,” said Carbone, who finished 21 of 29 passing for 218 yards and two touchdowns, his seventh multi-score game of the season. “And we’re really lucky to have a defense that can be good every single year. We can always rely on them.”
The Seawolves extended their lead to 21-7 with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Carbone to Donavin Washington with 7:02 remaining in the second quarter, but Albany responded with a touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the half.
“It says a lot about the character right now,” Priore said. “And we just need to continue to build that character.”