The Stony Brook Seawolves football team took it to the University at Albany Great Danes by a final score of 20-2 on Saturday afternoon at Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium.
Stony Brook ended its season on a high note, winning three games in a row to reach a 5-5 record. The Seawolves also won The “Golden Apple” trophy, awarded for winning the “Empire Clash”. Albany fell to 3-8 with the loss.
One of the largest factors in the dominating victory was that Stony Brook was effective on offense on both the ground and through the air.
Sophomore wide receiver Ray Bolden had a big game, recording 11 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown that helped Stony Brook strike first and obtain a 7-0 lead. He ends the season with 68 receptions, 765 yards and five touchdowns.
“They brought me in to do exactly what I did this year,” Bolden said following the game. “For me, it was something that was expected. I feel like I played well as a first-year player.”
Sophomore running back Donald Liotine, another first-year player, also closed out the season with a successful game. He rushed for 203 yards and a touchdown that put the Seawolves up 20-0 and effectively iced the game early in the third quarter.
“To be able to impact a game like that is huge,” Liotine said. “On offense, we just played a great game. To be able to perform at a level like that my first year in college sports, there’s nothing like it. My confidence is definitely high going into next year. I think that this will be a good group for years to come.”
Stony Brook’s defense was also lights out. The only points Albany was able to muster came on a safety towards the latter part of the third quarter, a play where Stony Brook’s offense was on the field. Senior defensive end Victor Ochi played an integral role in shutting down Albany with a pair of sacks to end his collegiate career with 32.5, a Stony Brook record.
“Cherish it [your time playing in college],” Ochi said, giving advice to Bolden, Liotine and other players who still have time left in their college careers. “It moves fast.”
Coach Chuck Priore was pleased with his team’s all-around good performance. “It’s a good win for the program,” he said. “I thought our quarterback Conor [Bednarski] had a great game today. Our coordinator put a great plan together, and we efficiently moved the ball. Once again, our defense is the reason why we were successful.”
Bednarski, a senior, completed 18 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. “It’s been a wild ride,” he said. “We just kept fighting through everything. Our lowest lows, we were out there grinding every practice. I’m proud of these guys, I love them.”
Junior kicker Przemyslaw Popek had two field goals in the second quarter to help Stony Brook tack onto its lead, one from 31 yards and the other from 18. His field goals gave the Seawolves a 13-0 lead to work with going into the second half of the game.
Unlike the game, the Seawolves had an overall roller coaster-esque season. The team started the season with two wins before hitting a rough patch where it lost five games in a row. The team was able to string together three wins against Howard, Rhode Island and Albany to end the season on a high note.
“Today’s game was a rivalry, and obviously that trophy is pretty cool,” Bednarski said. “I’ve never been part of a rivalry like that. It’ll be fun to come back to and watch these guys play for The Golden Apple again next year and defend it.”