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Stony Brook left at starting gate in Towson romp

Stony Brook quarterback Joe Carbone, shown here Sept.

Stony Brook quarterback Joe Carbone, shown here Sept. 29, 2018, against Villanova, was 15-for-24 for 195 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-28 loss at Towson on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.   Credit: Daniel De Mato

TOWSON, Md. — Stony Brook quickly fell behind by 21 points to Towson on Saturday, a start similar to last week’s home game against Villanova. The Seawolves rallied for a dramatic victory over the Wildcats in that one.

They could not deliver a repeat performance against Towson.

No. 13 Stony Brook tried to rally in the first half but the Tigers still led by 21 at halftime, and No. 23 Towson rolled to a 52-28 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The Seawolves’ four-game winning streak ended with this loss, partly because they could never get their ground game going. Part of that can be credited to Towson’s stingy defense but falling behind by three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes also forced quarterback Joe Carbone to throw more. Stony Brook finished with 37 yards rushing in the first half and just 104 for the game.

“I think before we looked at it, it was 21-0,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said. “I am going to give credit to Towson. At the end of the day, we know people are going to try to take away what we do, and we’re prepared for that. We just weren’t able to execute correctly.”

Stony Brook had run strongly during the four-game winning streak, gaining at least 161 yards on the ground during each contest. The Seawolves found some holes in this game but could not sustain that. Donald Liotine led Stony Brook (4-2, 2-1) with 47 yards rushing. Jordan Gowins added 24.

“Those backs are really good,” Towson linebacker Diondre Wallace said. “Our defense, we definitely set the tone from the beginning of the game.”

Carbone completed 15 of 24 for 195 yards and two touchdowns in his three quarters of action.

“We were in the position before,” Carbone said. “But we came out a little slow. We weren’t ready to play, and they just took advantage. The running backs always make my job a lot easier, and tonight we just had an off-night, wasn’t our night.”

Towson quarterback Tom Flacco — yes, he’s Joe’s brother — torched the Stony Brook defense. Flacco completed his first eight passes and eventually hit 23-for-33 for 319 yards and four touchdowns. He also led Towson with 37 yards rushing.

Flacco had been selected by STATS as the FCS national offensive player of the week earlier this week.

Towson (4-1, 2-0) caused problems right from the start when Shane Simpson returned the opening kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown. Simpson then ran for an 8-yard score on the Tigers’ first possession after a Stony Brook punt, and Flacco found Chris Clark for a 12-yard touchdown on the next drive for a 21-0 lead with 5:28 left in the first quarter.

The Seawolves then rallied in the second period thanks to two turnovers. Synceir Malone made a leaping interception of a Flacco pass, and Carbone threw a 53-yard touchdown to Marshall Ellick on the next play with 11:35 left in the half.

Stony Brook then recovered Towson running back Kobe Young’s fumble at the Tigers 25, and Carbone again stepped up on the next play. His 25-yard touchdown pass to Liotine on the following play made it 21-14 just 62 seconds after the first score gave the Seawolves some hope.

After that, though, Towson went on a 24-point run, and Stony Brook did not score again until Gowins ran for a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, which made it 45-21.

“There’s a reason they’re ranked as high as they are,” Towson coach Rob Ambrose. “There’s a reason they’re a playoff team, and there’s a reason we won.” 

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