WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons had their most productive offensive game of the young season on Saturday, scoring 30 points and amassing 376 yards total offense, but three costly turnovers resulted in the team dropping a 35-30 Homecoming Day decision to Merrimack College.
That offense will be put to the test Saturday when the Falcons (1-2, 1-1 Northeast-10) travel to Brookville, N.Y. to take on 2-0 LIU Post in a 1 pm game at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
LIU Post, in its first two contests, gave up a total of 15 points in wins over American International College and Stonehill College. Those two teams averaged just 202 yards against the Pioneers, were sacked seven times and converted only 8 of 30 third downs.
Against Merrimack, Bentley sophomore QB Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) threw his first two TD passes of the season while helping the Falcons finish five-of-five in the red zone. After a .448 completion percentage in the season's first two games, Sturm was 19 of 32 for 215 yards Saturday.
The left-hander completed passes to seven different players with senior Jordan Zlogar (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa HS) his number one target. He caught seven balls for 87 yards, boosting his season numbers to 16 for 187. The TD passes were pulled in by freshman Noah Neville (Boaton/Newton North HS) and senior Michael Correia (Fall River/Durfee HS).
On the ground, sophomore Andrew Brazicki (Franklin Lake, N.J./Bishop Ahr HS) remained steady with 72 yards and two short touchdowns in 21 carries. He's fourth in the conference in rushing with 68 yards per game.
Senior linebackers Andrew Carmichael (Wayland/Wayland HS) and Brian Kirby (Gleneig, Md./ River Hill HS) lead Bentley in tackles, with 24 and 20 respectively. Four different players have recorded interceptions, including junior Peter Thorbahn (Norwell/Xaverian Bros. HS) who had the eighth of his career on Saturday.
So far this season, the Bentley defense has been at its best after halftime with the opponents averaging 149.7 yards and 10 points after the break. Those numbers contrast to 255.7 yards and 23.7 points during the first half of games.
The LIU Post offense is led by Rutgers transfer Chris Laviano, who started 18 games and threw for over 3,000 yards during his three seasons with the Scarlet Knights. In his first two games with the Green and Gold, the current NE10 Offensive Player of the Week completed 67 percent of his passes for 438 yards and four TDs.
One of his top weapons is running back Malik Pierre, a first-team All-Northeast-10 performer in 2017. He's rushed for 114 yards, caught a team-best 11 passes and scored a pair of touchdowns thus far this fall.
Pierre is one of five returning All-Conference players for LIU Post with the list also including left tackle Chris Coles, right guard James Louison, wide receiver Michael Richardson and defensive tackle Abel Joseph.
In last year's meeting, Bentley jumped out to a 19-0 lead and went on to claim a 40-21 Homecoming victory over an LIU Post that was ranked ninth in Division II at the time. The Falcons came up with a half-dozen takeaways, including two interceptions and two fumble recoveries by Nick Athy (Holliston/Holliston HS).