Strong Offensive Performance Carries Football Past Merrimack, 37-20
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – It was a dominating offensive performance by the LIU Post football team as the Pioneers remained unbeaten on the season with a 37-20 victory against Merrimack College on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Martone-Mejail Stadium. The Green and Gold improve to 4-0 on the season with each victory coming during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Warriors fall to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play. LIU Post compiled a season-high 482 yards of total offense, including a season-best 326 passing yards by graduate student quarterback Chris Laviano who completed 27 of his 42 passing attempts. The first-year Pioneer finished with four total touchdowns, including three through the air and one on the ground. Nine different receivers were on the other end of Laviano's completions, led by a seven-reception effort by graduate student Michael Richardson. Richardson totaled 116 receiving yards and one touchdown, while redshirt-senior Deon Mash matched his season-high with six receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown. Classmate Amir Crenshaw posted his best offensive game of the season, hauling in five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, redshirt-senior Malik Pierre and junior Tim Marinan combined for 140 rushing yards, with Pierre finding the end zone once. Laviano added the final score of the day with a one-yard quarterback draw play during the second quarter. Defensively, LIU Post allowed a season-high 345 yards of total offense and surrendered a touchdown on the final play of the game for the 20-point Merrimack total. Graduate student Kevin Petit-Frere was a force in the backfield all afternoon, registering three sacks on his only three tackles of the day. Redshirt-senior Kasim Thomas and senior Connor Farrell each recorded an interception, while sophomore Nazir Streater finished with a team-high eight tackles. Following a scoreless first quarter, LIU Post took the lead on the one-yard scramble by Laviano midway through the second quarter to take a 6-0 lead. The touchdown sparked a burst of momentum for the Pioneers, as the visiting squad found the end zone two more times before the end of the half. Pierre kept the Pioneers rolling after a Thomas interception when he stiff-armed a defender in the backfield and changed directions for a five-yard score less than two minutes later. Laviano got the passing game going late in the half and closed out the team's penultimate possession of the half with a 40-yard hookup with Richardson to put the Pioneers up 20-0 at the midway point. Less than two minutes into the second half Laviano found Crenshaw for a three-yard touchdown pass to make it 27 unanswered points for the Pioneers. Merrimack found a lapse in the Pioneer secondary less than one minute later on a 75-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 27-7, but Laviano found Mash for a one-yard touchdown strike to push the lead back up to 27 points early in the fourth quarter. Despite touchdown passes of 25 and 33 yards during the fourth quarter for Merrimack, the Pioneer lead proved to be insurmountable as senior Joey Tolgyesi added a field goal during the stanza for the 37-20 final. LIU Post remains on the road for its only non-conference matchup of the regular season next week when they travel to Pennsylvania to take on Shippensburg University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.