It was the first Thursday night game in the history of Stony Brook football, and the Bryant Bulldogs were here to spoil the party. The team tried to ruin the homecoming party last season, but were denied by the Seawolves. This time around, they were successful, as Stony Brook lost to Bryant 13-7 in a FCS non-conference matchup at LaValle Stadium.
“I’m proud of the way our kids kept playing,” Stony Brook Head Coach Chuck Priore said. “The game was nothing I did not expect.”
With a new starting quarterback and the number one running back on the depth chart suspended for the game, the production of the Stony Brook offense was a question mark coming into the game.
The offense in the first quarter was very ineffective, going three and out in all three possessions and accumulating -5 yards of total offense.
“It was somewhat difficult getting into the swing of things,” starting quarterback and Syracuse transfer John Kinder said.
The senior had a shaky night, going 7-for-18 for 101 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions.
“They did some things defensively that took away a lot of the passing game we had practiced,” Priore said.
Bryant was able to take advantage of some good field position in the opening quarter, driving 35 and 43 yards in two drives, respectively, and ending each with Tom Alberti field goals to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead after the first period.
It was a flip of the script in the second quarter, as the Seawolves dominated. They posted 108 yards of offense, along with only allowing 46 for Bryant.
“We were able to stiffen up as the game went on, and I feel like we played very well defensively,” defensive back Christian Ricard said.
Stony Brook looked as if they were getting ready to score on their first drive of the quarter, as they used the ground game to get down the field. Stacey Bedell, who carried the ball a NCAA career-high 27 times in the game, was worked four times on the drive for 18 yards as the Seawolves moved into Bulldog territory to the 24.
“I was expecting to play a big part in the game, and was going to go in and play my hardest,” Bedell said.
He certainly did, posting a career-high in yards as well as his first career 100-yard outing with 116.
After a Seawolves timeout, Kinder proceeded to throw the first of his two interceptions, this one in the front right corner of the end zone to Robert Rutland for a touchback.
“You can’t turn the ball over and give the other team extra opportunities,” Kinder said. Lucky for him, the defense was able to bail him out both times he threw a pick and not allow any points.
After a Bryant three-and-out, the Seawolves got the spark the offense and the crowd of 10,252 in attendance were looking for. Kinder dropped back, and Adrian Coxson did a double move on the outside, beating his man and hauling in a 61-yard touchdown pass for Kinder’s first career touchdown pass.
Bryant was on the outskirts of field goal range towards the end of the half, but Dalton Easton made his only mistake of the night at that time, as Ousmane Camara made a great play, retreating into the passing lane and picking it off. This retained the Seawolves halftime lead at 7-6.
After Bryant and Stony Brook traded three-and-outs to start the drive, two of the six in the second half along with two four-and-outs, the Bulldogs reclaimed the lead for good when an 8-play, 64-yard drive was capped by an Easton touchdown pass to Chad Ward who caught it over Marvin Hart and ran it in. Hart was replacing Jaheem Woods, who had gone out of the game with cramps two plays earlier.
“Their kid made the play, we didn’t make the play. It was a good call, but the game doesn’t come down to one play,” Priore said.
The Seawolves were able to move the ball into Bulldogs territory twice in the fourth, but were not able to punch it in.
They got to the Bryant 37 yard line midway through the fourth, but back-to-back negative plays sent the offense back to midfield and they could never recover. The second time, the offense started in Bryant territory at the 46, but could only get as close as the 39. Then, on fourth and four from the 40, Kinder threw his second interception, as he took the snap and immediately looked at Coxson and threw it, with Sebastian Amedee right there waiting for it. He returned the pick all the way to the Stony Brook 35-yard line.
The Seawolves moved 16 yards after they turned Bryant over on downs, but fourth and 10 from their own 42 proved to be too much. Kinder rolled out and flicked a pass to Tyler Fredericks who could only gain seven, giving the ball and the game over to Bryant.
“I broke the pocket and tried to make something out of nothing,” Kinder said.
The next week does not get any easier for Stony Brook, as they will head across the Long Island Sound to Storrs, Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies of the American Conference in the FBS.
“We have to learn from this, turn the page, and move on. It’s just a bump in the road and we have to keep moving forward,” Ricard said.
Kickoff on Sept. 6 at Rentschler Field is scheduled for 12 p.m.