(HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)
The defense once again played well in the Seawolves match against American International on Saturday, Sept. 13. (HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)

1st Down: Coach Priore could take something out of the running diversity

When four running backs take carries in one game, it is safe to say that the opposition will not know what is coming at them.

In what was old-fashioned Stony Brook football, the combination of Stacey Bedell, Marcus Coker, James Kenner and Tyler Fredericks totaled a massive 41 carries on the night. Ignoring the fact that the quartet gained 299 yards, they cycled in and out, keeping the defense on their heels after stalling early on in the game. With Bedell and Coker being featured early and often, drives were quick for the Seawolves. As the game went along, there were multiple times when three running backs would get the call in one possession alone. With that, drives became longer, and the Yellow Jacket defense could not keep up, allowing Stony Brook to impose its will.

2nd Down: Rahim Cassell hitting his stride is a scary thought

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Nobody has really seen much of Cassell, a high-profile transfer from Oregon, and it was not exactly clear how quickly he would be able to adjust to Stony Brook. If there was any doubt, he ended it Saturday, swarming American International all night long, getting to the quarterback for two sacks, while totaling seven tackles, five of which were solo. It is not every day that Stony Brook will get a top-tier FBS talent to come to Long Island, so having Cassell will continue to be extremely important, especially as the rigors of conference play roll along.

3rd Down: Division II opponent or not, the offensive line played better

However dynamic a set of running backs is, it means nothing if they have no holes to sneak through. A trend early on in the season has been that both John Kinder and Conor Bednarski have not had a very stable pocket to work out of, something that guys looking for a rhythm must have. It was hard to see with the weather forcing a focus on the ground game Saturday night, but the two redshirt freshmen offensive tackles looked more comfortable than they have. Timon Parris had a tremendous seal on the right side to spring Stacey Bedell’s 72-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, a play which would quickly turn the game in the Seawolves’ favor, otherwise a gain of only a few yards if Parris wasn’t there to open up the right side.

4th Down: The team still has two quarterbacks

Is it the end of the world for Stony Brook to have two quarterbacks who get snaps in a game? No. Has Priore had success in the past running a similar system? Yes, but at the end of the day, for purposes of rhythm and team unity, having one starting quarterback will probably be the better option. With the rain, it is hard to blame either player for their combined 26 yards passing, but soon enough, there will have to come a time that one or another stands out. With conference play on the horizon, the sooner the better.

Extra Point: Looking Ahead

After a shaky start in the first quarter, Seawolves fans held their breath as the team once again looked shaky offensively, until the running game caught fire. Now with a big 20-3 win in the team’s back pocket, the team heads to North Dakota next weekend for a big game, one which could either build even more confidence, or set the team back to ground zero. With Saturday acting as the final warm-up before the team kicks off conference play, it will be of the utmost importance to knock out any chinks in the armor. Every game matters, but none matter more so than those against CAA foes.

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