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Stony Brook surges past Villanova, 29-27

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The Wildcats led 21-6 at the break, but then the Seawolves came through in a big way during the second half.

NCAA Football: Stony Brook at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As the old adage goes, “it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.”

The Wildcats started off hot, overwhelming the Seawolves with a three-touchdown lead to begin the game. However, Stony Brook was able to settle in.

Although the Seawolves had trailed going into halftime, they exploded in the second half and once they rallied to take the lead—they hardly looked back, going on to win 29-27.

Penalties, miscues, and the lack of offensive production allowed Stony Brook to forge a second half comeback, and it relished in every opportunity.

Stony Brook outgained Villanova, 267-79, in the second half. However, Stony Brook’s surge began just before the break.

Trailing 21-0, Stony Brook quarterback Joe Carbone found Julius Wingate for the Seawolves’ first touchdown, with 1:51 to go in the second quarter.

Then, the second half came.

Villanova’s Josh McGrigg fumbled the opening kickoff and Stony Brook took over with prime field position. Eight plays later, Seawolves running back Donald Liotine punched it in for another Stony Brook touchdown, making it 21-13 early in the third quarter.

On the ensuing Villanova drive, the Wildcats stalled out once again. While a booming punt by Nathan Fondacaro pinned Stony Brook at its own 3-yard line, the Seawolves made a few more crucial plays at the Wildcats’ expense. They meticulously drove the ball on the Villanova defense, before a 36-yard reception by Andrew Trent set them up well into Wildcat territory. A few plays later, Carbone found Wingate again for another long touchdown. The Seawolves could convert the necessary two-point conversion to tie the game midway through the third quarter.

Later in the quarter, Zach Bednarczyk was flagged for an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, rewarding Stony Brook with a safety and a 23-21 lead. Both teams traded empty-handed drives, until Stony Brook broke through for the go-ahead touchdown. Cal Daniels reeled in a 5-yard pass from Carbone to make it 29-21, with 4:13 left in the game.

Villanova would get a last-minute touchdown, thanks to a 25-yard touchdown reception by Jarrett McClenton from Jack Schetelich, who entered in the game for Bednarczyk. However, the game was decided by then and sealed, as the Seawolves recovered the final onside kick.

Carbone, who entered Saturday completing just 44.4 percent of his passes throughout the season, enjoyed a solid game under center. He completed 20-of-35 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Liotine and Jordan Gowins, the “Long Island Express,” combined for 140 yards on the ground.

For Villanova, Bednarczyk finished with 180 yards and one passing touchdown. Aaron Forbes led the rushing attack with 69 yards.

The Wildcats started the game off with a 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Todd Summers, midway through the third quarter. They padded their early lead with a second quarter rushing touchdown by Forbes. Shortly after that, the Wildcats got the ball back and ran a slick trick play for a 56-yard touchdown. Bednarczyk hit wide receiver Adeyemi DaSilva on a lateral pass, who then launched the ball downfield for Changa Hodge for the score.

With the loss, Villanova drops to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in conference play. The Wildcats will look to bounce back against Maine. They’ll remain on the road, heading up north to take the Black Bears on Saturday, October 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.