Saturday may have Stony Brook’s senior day but it was a junior — Jordan Gowins — who stole show at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Gowins rushed for a career-high 125 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, as Stony Brook rolled over Wagner, 38-10. Gowins said a frightening helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked receiver Ray Bolden out of the game late in the third quarter got him going.
Bolden was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital and was being evaluated for concussion symptoms, according to team personnel.
“I think I got a big spark when everything happened with Ray,” said Gowins, a St. Anthony’s product who surpassed his previous high of 108 yards. “Because that’s family. The same way I come out here and play for my mom and father, I come out here and play for him, too.
“Coming out of that, that’s when I got my momentum and felt like I was playing for something more than myself.”
“We saw the physicality from Jordan that we saw in high school,” coach Chuck Priore said.
Stacey Bedell, a senior and Stony Brook’s leading rusher on the season, exited following one carry for 1 yard, with an undisclosed injury. Priore said he was uncertain of the injury’s nature.
Bedell did not comment after the game.
Stony Brook built a 14-10 lead at halftime and never looked back. Gowins put the Seawolves ahead after receiving a handoff, juking to the inside and bursting 17 yards to the end zone with 13:38 remaining in the second quarter.
He later punched in a 1-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with 5:33 left in the third to widen the Stony Brook advantage to 28-10, securing both the first multi-touchdown performance and second 100-yard effort of his career.
The win not only sent the seniors and graduate students off in style, but also improved Stony Brook’s chances of securing a postseason berth.
The Seawolves (8-2) entered the day in a favorable position for the upcoming playoffs, ranked 12th in FCS STATS and 15th in the coaches poll. They’ll cap off the regular season Saturday at Maine.
“We have to finish the season off strong,” said quarterback Joe Carbone, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. “That’s all we’re really thinking about.”
Donald Liotine, who had eight carries for 79 yards, barreled over a defender on a carry to the right and sprinted 45 yards for a score to give the Seawolves a two-possession lead at 21-10 with 11:20 left in the third. His burst was preceded by defensive lineman Tahriq Gordon’s strip-sack, recovered by linebacker Shayne Lawless.
But Lawless wasn’t done there.
Just over two minutes later, the junior intercepted a play-action pass in the end zone to stifle a Wagner (3-7) scoring threat that went to the Stony Brook 5-yard line. He also tied with Chris Cooper for a team-high seven tackles.
“Just one of those days,” Lawless said. “Coaches made the calls and I tried to stay in the right place.”
As a whole, Stony Brook’s defense bent but did not break after allowing 121 rushing yards from Ryan Fulse and 185 passing yards from Luke Massei.
Despite the four-touchdown final margin, Stony Brook trailed 10-7 when Fulse went untouched through the right side for a 29-yard touchdown scamper at the 10-second mark of the first. Carbone’s 12-yard touchdown pass to graduate student Harrison Jackson put the Seawolves on the board, 7-3, with 6:54 to go in the quarter.
“It was great,” Jackson said of scoring a touchdown on senior day. “This is my third senior day. I’m glad we got our eighth win. That’s all I’m really happy about. I could [not] care less about stats.”