No. 18 Football Smothers Pace Passing Game in 41-6 Victory
BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – The No. 18 LIU Post football team rolled to its 12th-consecutive victory on Saturday, Oct. 20 with a 41-6 rout of Pace University inside Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. The Pioneers made history during the 35-point win, becoming the first team in program history to hold two opponents to zero rushing yards and zero passing yards during the same season. The LIU Post defense forced Pace quarterback Brandon Simmons to an 0-for-12 effort through the air, intercepting four passes on the afternoon. Sophomore defensive back Nazir Streater continued to be a ball hawk, picking off Simmons twice during the first quarter to give him six interceptions on the season. Senior linebacker Connor Farrell and redshirt-junior safety Zach Cofrancesco added the final two interceptions, while redshirt-senior Chika Ewulu and redshirt-sophomore Anthony Lavio led the Pioneers with eight tackles apiece. Offensively, redshirt-freshman Jonathan DeBique led LIU Post with 48 rushing yards and one touchdown as redshirt-senior Malik Pierre and graduate student Chris Laviano added one rushing touchdown each for three scores on the ground during the win. Laviano finished 18-for-32 through the air for 266 yards and two touchdowns, finding redshirt-senior Michael Hartgrove and redshirt-junior Jake Bofshever for his 18th and 19th passing touchdowns of the season. The opening stanza featured five punts, two interceptions, and a turnover on downs as the score remained 0-0 at the end of the quarter. Streater's second interception just before the end of the first period set LIU Post up deep in Setter territory and Pierre capped off an eight-play drive with a one-yard burst into the end zone to put the Pioneers ahead 7-0 and the offense never looked back. Less than two minutes later, Cofrancesco intercepted a pass at midfield and ran it back to the five-yard line but a holding call erased the big return, giving the Pioneers the ball at the Pace 40-yard line. It took just one play for Laviano to find Bofshever for a big touchdown strike at the 10:10 mark of the quarter. After holding Pace to a three-and-out on defense, the Pioneers drove 67 yards on nine plays to find the end zone for the third time during the quarter on a seven-yard quarterback keeper by Laviano to take a 21-0 lead at the half. The onslaught continued in the second half, starting with a 19-yard field goal by senior Joey Tolgyesi. Late in the third quarter, the Pioneers put the game out of reach for good when Hartgrove hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Laviano to give the Green and Gold a 34-0 advantage. Pace got on the board late in the fourth quarter after a 15-play, 77-yard drive set up Jhalen Bien-Aime for a two-yard touchdown rush. A two-point conversion attempt failed as the Pioneers continued to hold a 28-point lead. The exclamation point to the victory came with just 33 seconds remaining when DeBique pummeled into the end zone from six yards out to give LIU Post its fifth touchdown of the afternoon. The Pioneers improve to 7-0 to begin the season for just the third time since 2000 with the victory. The 12-game winning streak matches the second-longest streak in program history since the Green and Gold captured 13-in-a-row from 2015-16, and 1993-94. LIU Post puts its win-streak on the line at Worcester, Mass. when it takes on rival Assumption College as part of the NCAA Division II Showcase. The matchup will air on the ESPN family of networks on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m.