Coming off of a tough defeat against the University of New Hampshire on family weekend, the Seawolves get no reprieve in their upcoming matchup against the University of Maine Black Bears.
Maine’s 11th ranked team welcomes Stony Brook to Orono, Maine for a CAA matchup that Stony Brook cannot afford to lose. Of any team on the schedule for coach Chuck Priore’s team to play when in desperate need for a win, Maine would not be on the top of the wish list.
Last weekend against UNH, Stony Brook’s secondary did not have their best game, giving up plays for big yardage when they did yield completions. Sloppy play on both sides of the ball with a combination of missed tackles and missed receivers turned a game that seemed to be within reach to a not-so friendly scoreboard.
Quarterback Lyle Negron, who has been dealing with shoulder issues all season long, had arguably his worst game as a Seawolf, and it is important for him to bounce back against Maine. Dumping attempted throwaways into the arms of the Black Bear defense will not help Stony Brook get back on track.
There is no reason to not play aggressively against a higher ranked team this weekend, even with the chances of making the FCS playoffs hanging in the balance. Maine played FBS ranked Northwestern earlier in the season, managing to stay within a couple of scores in the second half. Losing their only game of the season to what was one of the early season predicted BCS bowl game participants will have Maine extremely confident. It will be important to let the Maine crowd and team know that Stony Brook is there to play early on, controlling possession to keep the dynamic Maine offense from touching the football.
Playing a team that likes to control the tempo of the game with a mix of two dynamic attacks, both off the ground and through the air, Stony Brook needs to keep the pace in their hands. Maine is not the most careful team in that they commit a lot of penalties. False snap counts and gritty play can get to them, lengthening drives to take the ball away from their offense.
The numbers of Maine’s offense may not be that impressive compared to past opponents with about 450 yards of offense per game, but they can move the ball and put plenty of points up on the scoreboard.
The one thing that Stony Brook can do to keep Maine out of their comfort zone is rush the quarterback. Last season, NFL caliber talent graduated from the Maine starting offensive line, giving Stony Brook a chance to use a variety of blitzes to even cause turnovers. Coach Priore’s squad would be in good shape if they kept Maine out of the Redzone as much as they could, as they put points on the board over 80 percent of the time once they get down inside the 20.
After a solid rushing day, a revived passing attack with the help of Malcolm Eugene can keep Stony Brook in contact in this one, the most important game of the season to date.