First Down: The Seawolves Defensive Line is more than a force
A lot of the credit that Stony Brook gets on the defensive side of the football goes to the secondary, led by standouts Christian Ricard and Naim Cheeseboro. Not that the duo underperformed in the big win, totaling 18 tackles, but the big guys up front deserve more credit than they get.
No, a sack each for Victor Ochi and Aaron Thompson does not look spectacular, but it was what they did that does not show up in the statistics that made their performance special.
They filled the gaps in the trenches beautifully, leaving 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year Darius Victor with no room to run. After trampling his
competition for over 100 yards in four of Towson’s first five games, Victor got nothing going against Stony Brook’s physicality. With only 59 yards for the game, Victor was, in effect, nullified.
Second Down: The Seawolves will not win another game in which they lose a fumble and throw an interception
All season long, carelessness has plagued the Seawolves. Six interceptions and seven lost fumbles have spelt disaster, making up a large part of the reason that until the Towson game, Stony Brook had one win so far this season.
If James Kenner did not plow away the remaining time of the game in the fourth quarter leading to his game-sealing touchdown, the team’s turnovers could have very well cost the Seawolves the game.
It is one thing to see a fluke
interception because of a tipped pass, but to see fumbles due to less than optimal decision-making is another story.
For example, tight end Will Tye, who has been a force for Stony Brook quarterbacks in the middle of the field all season long, caught a pass and looked to turn up the far sideline on Saturday.
Instead of keeping the ball towards the boundary, he kept it in his blocking hand, allowing swarmers from Towson to not only look to secure the tackle, but to strip the ball.
The Seawolves benefitted from the smart, play-through-the play mindset of Tanner Nehls, who was there for the recovery.
Third Down: Patience is a Virtue
Take a look at the Seawolves depth chart. It will take until the fourth spot to find the 2013 Seawolves rushing leader, Kenner.
Without him on Saturday, Stony Brook’s win against Towson would not have been set in stone. Stacey Bedell went down with an injury at the end of the first half, so it was up to somebody else to step up.
Many players who get sent to the bottom of their respective positional ladder mope and get upset, but Kenner professionally waited for his time.
He has proven this season that he is always ready to go when No. 28 is called, getting most of the carries for Stony Brook running backs in the second half, including 7 for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Seawolves’ final drive.
Fourth Down: One win is nice, but playoffs call for more
There is no doubting the fact that the Seawolves put their most complete performance of the season together when they needed it most: against conference foe Towson.
However, in the grand scheme of things, it is typical for the CAA to send three teams to the Football Championship Series playoffs, an automatic qualifier for winning the conference crown and two at-large bids. The last couple of seasons, the most in-conference losses a playoff qualifier has suffered is two, which would have been tough for the Seawolves to get to at the end of the year if they lost their first two games of the season. Again, there is a lot of the season left to go, and it will be important to continue to improve, as no matter the struggles the Seawolves have gone through this season, the important games are still to come.
One of the most ignored parts of football is the kicking game. From the field goal kicker to the punter, every time a boot is put on the ball is extremely important.
This sport is one of field position, and putting the offense in a good position to put points on the board and giving the defense breathing room is essential.
There have not been many vital kicking situations this season, but as conference play continues and the pressure ramps up, it is more than likely that a game will come down to a kick.
Przemyslaw Popek has converted on one of his two field goal attempts, while missing a couple of extra points.
Punter Luke Allen has booted it for more than 50 yards on seven occasions, and will need to continue to do so for the Seawolves.