Following their first homecoming loss in nearly a decade to William & Mary, the Seawolves will look to rebound as they head to Maryland for an crucial conference game against the Towson Tigers. This matchup will feature two teams coming off narrow defeats in their Colonial Athletic Association openers last week.
The Seawolves currently sit at a disappointing 1-4 on the season. After a poor start, Stony Brook will need to make the most of their conference schedule to stay in the mix for postseason play. A win against CAA-rival Towson would represent a major step in the right direction.
Last year when Towson came to LaValle Stadium, they got the best of the Seawolves in a 35-21 win. Led by current Cleveland Browns running back Terrance West, the Tigers would record 190 total rushing yards that day to carry the offense.
The 2013, Tigers had one of the best seasons in school history, as they made it all the way to the FCS title game with a 13-3 record. This year, the Tigers have struggled with a 2-3 record. Towson lost their CAA season opener last week to Maine 27-24.
Running back Darius Victor is the focal point of Towson’s offense. The sophomore has accumulated 588 yards and six touchdowns over the team’s first five games, averaging almost six yards per carry. As Terrance West’s backup last year, Victor rushed for 45 yards, including a 31 yard touchdown in the Stony Brook game.
In order to contain Victor and company, the Seawolves will need to rely on their front seven to keep the running game in check. Victor Ochi has anchored the defensive line with 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Linebacker Rahim Cassell has also proven to be a quality presence up the middle, as he has recorded 17 tackles including two for loss with two sacks.
Rover Christian Ricard will also be key in stopping the running game, as the senior leads the team in tackles, yards for loss, and sacks. Ricard’s season has undoubtedly been one of the primary reasons Stony Brook ranks second in the FCS in total defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, improvements must continue to be made in the team’s passing game, as Stony Brook ranks 11th in the CAA with just 136.8 passing yards per game.
Last week, the team made a switch at quarterback from John Kinder to Conor Bednarski, and saw the offense put up a season-high 21 points. In his first start as a Seawolf, Bednarski threw for 189 yards and a touchdown while completing two-thirds of his passes. While his numbers were far from elite, Bednarski displayed that he can be an effective game manager with a solid running game behind him.
As it has been for the entire season, the running game has been the most efficient part of the offense. Stacey Bedell had another great game with 143 yards rushing against William & Mary. Not surprisingly, a ground and pound approach continues to be the game plan of choice for the Seawolves’ offense.
As of right now making the FCS playoffs looks to be a bit of longshot for Stony Brook.
With that being said, seven conference games still remain, and a road win against Towson could prove to be a turning point in the season.