The Stony Brook defense allowed only 145 yards of total offense and was able to force two turnovers in the team’s matchup against University of North Dakota Saturday night. But once again, the Seawolves’ offense did not do the team any favors, as they committed three turnovers of their own and the Seawolves lost to North Dakota 13-3 in an FCS matchup at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Stony Brook is now 1-3 on the season, and is finished with the non-conference part of its schedule. The team hoped to see some progression from its offense in what was its final tuneup before Colonial Athletic Association play begins, but instead saw an offensive unit that not only continued to struggle to put points on the board, but also allowed more points than the team’s defense.
With just under five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Seawolves trailed by only three points and had the ball at the North Dakota 7-yard line.
But, on second and goal, quarterback John Kinder rolled out to his right and was picked off by defensive back Alex Tillman. Tillman jumped a crossing route and took the pass back 92 yards to the house for a touchdown, completely changing the momentum of the game.
Kinder played his most efficient game as a Seawolf on Saturday, going 12-for-18 for 172 yards. But turnovers continued to be a problem for the Syracuse transfer, as he not only threw an interception for a touchdown, but also fumbled and lost the ball deep in UND territory on the following drive.
Will Tye was the lone offensive bright spot for the Seawolves in the game, hauling in five catches and a career high 103 yards.
The Seawolves special teams also had a strong game.
In the second quarter, they were able to set up the team’s lone points of the game off a muffed punt.
Tillman muffed a Luke Allen punt at his own 24-yard line, and Max Martinez recovered to give Stony Brook the ball back.
This was Martinez’s second fumble recovery of the season.
The Seawolves proceeded to go three-and-out, setting up Graham Ball for a 36-yard field goal attempt.
The left-footed kicker put it down the middle for his first field goal of the season, and Stony Brook had an early 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately for SBU, it did not take long for North Dakota to answer.
In fact, it only took them 52 seconds to take the lead that they would not let go of. Kyle Norberg rushed for four yards to start the drive.
Then, Joe Mollberg went up top to Dev Ferguson down the middle of the field on a play-action pass for 68 yards and a touchdown in the lone big play of the game for North Dakota’s offense.
The PAT was missed, and they had a 6-3 lead late in the first half.
Stony Brook moved the ball down to the UND 35 yard line in the next drive, but instead of attempting the long 52-yard field goal, decided to go for it and Kinder could not hit Adrian Coxson on 4th and 4 to give the ball back to North Dakota.
In the second half, the Seawolves defense clamped down. UND finished with five three and outs and could only put up six yards of total offense against a stout Stony Brook defense.
Naim Cheeseboro also had an interception in the half, setting up the Seawolves with field position at the UND 38-yard line.
Stony Brook could not do anything with it though, as they went three-and-out.
This was only one of the two times they did this in a day where they recorded 14 first downs.
Christian Ricard was able to lead the Seawolves defense, recording five tackles and his CAA-leading fifth sack of the season.
The Seawolves fell to 0-3 in matchups against teams from the Big Sky Conference, including a 16-10 loss in the 2012 FCS Playoffs to then-third-seeded Montana State.
Kinder looks to be the lead man heading into next week, as Conor Bednarski only garnered one pass attempt in the game, overthrowing a receiver in a deep ball down the field.
The Seawolves open CAA play on Sept. 27 when they host William & Mary for Homecoming. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.