1st down: Beware of the big play
All year, the best defense in the country, Stony Brook, has had one weakness: the big play.
In each of their previous four losses, the Seawolves have surrendered a big play that cost them the game.
Saturday’s loss to #3/5 New Hampshire was no different. Down just 15-14 in the third quarter, the Wildcats ran a flea-flicker, resulting in a 73-yard pass from running back Nico Steriti. Although the Seawolves would respond late in the 4th with a 31-yard touchdown of their own, it would not be enough to defeat the 6-1 Wildcats.
2nd Down: When the going gets tough, the tough get going
Sophomore defensive back Jaheem Woods recorded his second interception in the end zone in as many games.
For the moment, it kept the New Hampshire lead to one possession and gave the Seawolves new life.
The Wildcats also could have stretched the lead to two scores in the fourth on a 40-yard field goal, but instead, the kick was blocked by senior and CAA defensive player of the year candidate Christian Ricard and recovered by Marvin Hart on the UNH 43-yard line.
Senior Victor Ochi had four sacks, setting a new career-high.
3rd Down: Break out the record books
Starting in place of senior Jahrie Level, true freshman wide receiver Donavin Washington recorded 102 yards on 11 catches.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 165 pound receiver had the most receptions in a game of any receiver this year and the most since Malcom Eugene had 12 receptions last season against Villanova.
With Adrian Coxson, Jahrie Level and Will Tye all graduating this year, junior quarterback Conor Bednarski will look to freshmen Donavin Washington and Julius Wingate
to step up next season.
4th Down: The Seawolves playoff chances take a big hit
With Saturday’s loss, the Seawolves (4-5, 3-2 CAA) playoff hopes took its biggest blow, as the team now has been eliminated from contention for a spot in the FCS Tournament.
The only way that they would be able to qualify would be to win the CAA outright, which they no longer could do, losing out in any tiebreakers for first place.
Certainly, there are several games the Seawolves could look back and wish they had finished but none will loom larger than the homecoming loss to William & Mary in which they had the lead with less than a minute left to play.
It does not help, of course, to schedule Division II opponents making the necessary record to earn an at-large bid 7-4 instead of 7-5.
This year may be as good of an argument as any for Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore to no longer schedule those Division II games as their conference play gets tougher.
This week, the Seawolves will get a much needed bye week and will return home the following week (11/8) to face James Madison at 1 p.m.
The Dukes bring with them a very powerful rushing attack, which is second in the conference at 245.5 yards per game.
Their offense is also fourth in the conference in scoring at 33.9 points per game. The Dukes also have a passing offense that ranks third in the conference.
James Madison’s offense is led by the dual-threat quarterback Vad Lee, who averages 79.1 yards per game on the ground, as well as 249.4 yards through the air.
That total of 328.5 all-purpose yards ranks first in the conference.
As far as the offensive line is concerned, they do a great job.
The men up front have allowed the second fewest sacks in the conference, only allowing 12 for a total loss of 74 yards.