“It’s nice to be in the win column,” Stony Brook football’s Head Coach Chuck Priore said after his team pulled out their first victory of the season. Led by 300 yards rushing and 100-yard efforts by both Stacey Bedell and James Kenner, the Seawolves were able to rebound from a sluggish first quarter to control the ground and earn a 20-3 victory over the American International Yellow Jackets on Saturday night at LaValle Stadium.
This was the first time the Seawolves put together a 300-yard rushing attack since they put up 446 against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 29, 2011. It was also the first time that two Stony Brook running backs ran for 100 yards each since Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker each hit triple digits against Villanova on Nov. 24, 2012.
“We knew coming in that we were going to run the football,” Priore said.
Bedell was able to put together 130 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game late in the third quarter. Kenner came right in and picked up where Bedell left off, picking up 102 yards on 10 carries. Bedell’s night was highlighted by a 72-yard touchdown run in which he bounced to the right sideline and took it to the house to start the scoring in the game with 7:58 to go in the second quarter.
“They were shooting the inside gaps, and I bounced it to the outside which was wide open,” Bedell, a sophomore UMass transfer, said.
This touchdown was the fifth-longest rushing touchdown in the Division I history of the Seawolves.
The rotating cycle of quarterbacks continued in this game, as John Kinder and Conor Bednarski split drives in the opening half, with Bednarski finishing the game by taking all of the drives in the second half.
This game also had some personal significance to it, as Priore and American International head man Art Wilkins have a history that started long before this game. Coach Wilkins recruited Priore to go to Bucknell back when Priore was at Maria Regina High School.
The Seawolves offense was sluggish in the first quarter, only producing 47 yards, all of them rushing.
American International was able to outgain Stony Brook in the quarter, accumulating 63 yards.
After some refocusing, the Seawolves were able to get their act together, producing 123 yards in the second quarter, which included Bedell’s TD run on the first play of their second drive of the quarter.
“From there on, we did what we needed to do,” Priore said.
Stony Brook was able to double the lead later in the quarter, when Bedell bounced outside again and took it to the house on 1st and goal from the two-yard line. This came after a defensive pass interference penalty on Mike Ford on 3rd and goal extended the drive.
“Being at Stony Brook, we have so many talented running backs,” Kenner said.
The only points for American International came on a Jared Hulsey 23-yard field goal. This drive was kept alive by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Seawolves on 4th and 18 when the Yellow Jackets were getting ready to punt.
“I own those three points right now,” Priore said. “Those fall on my shoulders.”
That was one of eight penalties for the Seawolves on the night, resulting in 90 yards.
“We have to stay away from crucial penalties, but those are apart of the growing pains,” the ninth-year coach said.
Three plays after the penalty, Shawn Brathwaite completed a pass to Stephan Davis, who spun off a tackle and took the ball 62 yards to the Stony Brook 7-yard line before Christian Ricard took him down from behind.
“We work on taking angles every day in practice and I was able to take a good one,” Ricard said.
Kenner finished the game’s scoring when he pounded in a touchdown run from three yards out to finish off a nine-play, 81-yard march down the field to make it 20-3.
Stony Brook’s defense was able to play very well again, matching the physicality of an American International team that made the Division II playoffs a year ago, holding them to just 196 yards of total offense.
“This was more physical than the UConn game believe it or not,” Priore said.
Ricard led the way again, recording nine tackles, seven solo, with three of them behind the line of scrimmage along with a sack. Ricard’s was one of five in the game for the Seawolves.
Naim Cheeseboro played very well, as he recorded six tackles and also intercepted a pass and forced a fumble against the Yellow Jackets.
“Our brand of football is what you saw tonight, running the football and playing very hard on defense,” Priore said.
The Seawolves will look to continue that brand of defense when they head to Grand Forks, ND on Sept. 21 to take on the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota in their last non-conference game of the season.