On Saturday, Sept. 14 the LIU Post football team defeated the Southern Connecticut State University Owls (0-2) by a final score of 24-12. Redshirt junior quarterback Steven Laurino starred in the home opener for the Pioneers (2-0) as he threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 92 yards. This marks the second consecutive season the Pioneers have started the season 2-0 and won their home opener.
Both teams came away empty on their first possession of the game. However, on the Pioneers’ second possession, they marched down the field 83 yards in less than two minutes to kick off the scoring. The touchdown was a 58-yard pass from Laurino to redshirt senior Joe Botti. The big-play receiver now has three touchdowns through the first two games of the season. The Owls finally found the endzone with just under 11 minutes left to play in the second quarter when sophomore fullback Michael Johnson punched it in from one yard out. The extra point that followed was unsuccessful so the Pioneers led 7-6.
About midway through the quarter, the Pioneers padded their lead when Laurino found redshirt freshman wide receiver Michael Richardson for a 16-yard touchdown. Later as time expired to conclude the half, senior kicker Karsten Viste nailed a 23-yard field goal to give the Pioneers a comfortable 17-6 advantage. The third quarter was a defensive quarter. Both teams had a difficult time developing an offensive rhythm and putting together solid, lengthy drives that resulted in points. Eventually with 5:26 remaining in the quarter, the Owls cut into the lead from the Pioneers with a two- yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jacob Jablonski to junior wide receiver on attempt, but failed. The score heading into the fourth quarter was 17-12 with the Pioneers still holding onto the lead.
Jablonski was interception-free through the first quarters, but he made two critical mistakes when it mattered the most in the fourth quarter. Pioneers senior outside linebacker Tommy Williams capitalized on the ill-advised throws and as a result, intercepted two key throws. In addition, the Owls also threatened another time deep in LIU Post territory, but could not convert. It was fourth and goal on the two yard line, and Jablonski got sacked by senior linebacker Rob Bright and junior defensive lineman Bernardo Nunez for a loss of downs.
The defensive was clutch and made critical plays down the stretch of the game in crunchtime. The Pioneers’ defense put the offense in great field position for the last touchdown of the game when senior running back Jeff Mack scored from two yards out to finish off the Owls by a final score of 24-12.
The next game for the Pioneers is on the road on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:00 p.m. against the Bentley University Falcons (1-1). The next time the Pioneers play at home at Hickox Field is on Saturday, Oct. 5 against Merrimack College (1-1).
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