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Championship Bound: Football stays undefeated in Big South, will play Liberty for crown

In the last home game of the season, the Seawolves gave their fans a special performance, completely dominating Gardner-Webb in a 55-3 victory. Stony Brook has won four straight and is 5-0 in the Big South for the first time since joining the conference in 2008.

Junior Brock Jackolski (Shirley, N.Y.) led the Seawolves with 131 yards on the ground and 256 all-purpose yards. He achieved the football hat-trick, rushing for a touchdown, receiving another, and returning a kickoff for a score. He surpassed 1,000 rushing yards on the season.

Freshman Davonte Anderson (Corona, Calif.) set a school record with four interceptions. Stony Brook’s defense forced seven turnovers in all: five interceptions and two fumbles.

“First off, I want to say I am very proud of our seniors,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “This is a team that has learned how to come ready to play, and we showed that over the course of the game.”

Miguel Maysonet (Riverhead, N.Y.) ran for 88 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. He and Jackolski are tied for the team-lead with 12 touchdowns each. Stony Brook’s two-headed monster in the backfield became the first duo from one team to rush for 1,000 yards this season at both the FCS and FBS levels.

On the opening drive of the game, Gardner-Webb was able to take the lead on a Ryan Gates 31-yard field goal. Stony Brook was held scoreless in the opening period.

The Seawolves’ started building momentum in the second quarter. On second-and-11 from the Gardner-Webb 34-yard line, Jackolski took a handoff 31 yards down to the three. Maysonet punched it in from there to give Stony brook a 7-3 lead, and they never looked back.

On the ensuing drive, Anderson recorded his first pick of the game as he intercepted a pass from GWU quarterback John Rock at the SBU 39. On the very next play, Michael Coulter (Yorba Linda, Calif.) found Matt Brevi (Tampa, Fla.) wide open over the middle for a 61-yard bomb for a touchdown. It was the sixth time this season the Seawolves have scored on the opening play of a drive.

The Bulldogs were driving deep into Stony Brook territory, but defensive lineman Andrew Nelson (Uniondale, N.Y.) hit running back Patrick Hall and forced a fumble. Redshirt freshman Alex Probasco (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) recovered it on the eight-yard line. The Seawolves were then able to put together a 13-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a Wesley Skiffington (Brandon, Fla.) 24-yard field goal.

On the second play of the next drive, Rock overthrew his receiver, and Anderson was there for the interception and returned it 34 yards to the GWU 16. Skiffington hit a 31-yard field goal to give the Seawolves a 20-3 lead going into halftime.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackolski ran behind great blocks by Maysonet and Brevi for a 94-yard touchdown. This was Stony Brook’s first special teams touchdown of the season.

The Bulldogs could not catch a break as their next drive ended when Gates missed a 44-yard field goal wide right. On second-and-nine from the GWU 46, Coulter found senior Michael Lepore (Brick, N.J.) down the sideline for a 36-yard completion. Two plays later, Coulter hit Jackolski for a six-yard score.

On the very next play, Anderson picked off Rock and returned it to the Garner-Webb 21. Two plays later, Jackolski scored his third touchdown of the game on a 19-yard run to give Stony Brook a 41-3 lead. Including the kickoff return, this was the Seawolves’ seventh straight possession of the game that ended with a touchdown.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, sophomore Craig Richardson (Maiden, Mass.) forced a Hall fumble and senior Stephen Schwicke (East Patchogue, N.Y.) recovered the loose ball and returned it 42 yards for a score.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Anderson picked off Rock again to set the program-record.

The Bulldogs’ frustration was evident as a fight broke out after a 33-yard run from Maysonet.

On Gardner-Webb’s next drive, Rock threw his fifth interception of the game to Richardson, who returned it 29 yards. Redshirt freshman Vincent Polo (Wantagh, N.Y.) ran four straight times, the last one going for an eight-yard touchdown to cap the scoring for the day at 55-3.

Coulter finished the game with 158 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Dominick Reyes (Hesperia, Calif.) led all players with 15 tackles. Richardson had a great day with 13 tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble.

The Seawolves finished with 418 total yards of offense. This was their fourth straight game with at least five touchdowns and more than 30 points.

“The team is finally playing well as a unit,” Brevi said. “It gives us a lot of momentum. I think we have a great shot to win against Liberty.”

Stony Brook now sits atop the conference alone as Coastal Carolina was able to defeat Liberty.

The Seawolves are on the road next week to face Liberty in the regular-season finale. A win would earn them the conference championship and an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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