A trip up to New Hampshire will place the Stony Brook football team (4-4) in Cowell Stadium, where the Seawolves will face the New Hampshire Wildcats (5-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The two teams will head into the game owning impressive winning streaks. The Wildcats look to continue dominating with a high-powered offense that has won the Wildcats their last five games, during which they have scored an average of 41.2 points per game. On the season, the New Hampshire offense ranks second in the conference, producing almost 38 points per game.
After starting quarterback Sean Goldrich suffered a knee injury in the third game of the year, replacement Andy Vailas has not only filled the shoes of Goldrich, but became an instant success. Vailas immediately jump-started the Wildcats offense by spearheading a game-winning drive. Using both his speed and strong arm, he has become a threat in or out of the pocket. Since replacing Goldrich, Vailas has completed 68 percent of passes, added 770 yards passing and 203 yards rushing in five and a half games. He will lead the Wildcats against the stingy Seawolves defense.
The Seawolves have not had the same offensive support as New Hampshire. Instead, Stony Brook has used its physical defense to produce a three-game win streak that has surrendered only 13 points total during the stretch. Stony Brook has proven that it is among the elite defenses this year, topping the defensive charts in every CAA category.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises on the season for Stony Brook is running back Stacey Bedell, who has led the Seawolves and their triple threat running game in both yards and touchdowns. With over 100 yards per game, Bedell has given the offense the spark it needed to put together this three game win streak. Bedell has reached the end zone in each of their last three wins and has totaled five touchdowns in their four wins on the season. It will be imperative to establish the running game early in order to set up opportunities through the air as well as keeping the ball out of the hands of the high powered Wildcat offense. While the passing game has struggled as of late, an effective running game can help improve it.
Saturday sets up to be the classic offense against defense battle. In order for Stony Brook to have a chance to win, the team will have to continue asserting their stout defense. The game will be the third meeting between the two teams, with New Hampshire winning the last two. Last year, Stony Brook, coming off a three game win streak, was overwhelmed by the Wildcat offense as they fell 31-13, giving up 336 yards of offense.
This year, the Seawolves have improved their defense, with senior Christian Ricard paving the way. Ricard is the cornerstone of the defense as he leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Ricard and the Seawolves defense hope to shut down the Wildcat offense and move above .500 for the first time this year. A win for the Seawolves would also place them in second in the CAA standings and drop New Hampshire to third. After a shaky and disappointing start to the season, Saturday’s game could help forget the woes of early season and put Stony Brook in a better position to make the playoffs. The Seawolves must win out, or their season will be over.