Stony Brook led 24-10 late in the second quarter, but the JMU Dukes and their high-flying offense rattled off 17 unanswered points and defeated the Seawolves 27-24 in a CAA football matchup Saturday afternoon at LaValle Stadium.
“If you told me we would’ve held them to 27 points, then I would say we’d have a chance to win the game and we did,” head coach Chuck Priore said.
Vad Lee accumulated 370 all-purpose yards in the game on his way to a record-setting day, during which he broke James Madison’s single-season touchdown passing record of 22 and the single-season total offense record, previously at 2,982 yards.
“He’s by far the best we’ve seen this year,” senior rover Christian Ricard said. “He was able to extend plays for what seemed like forever.”
Lee led the Dukes to 513 yards of total offense, which is by far the highest allowed by this Seawolves defense this season.
Conor Bednarski had a big day of his own, throwing for a Stony Brook career-high 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He had his best practice week as well,” Priore said.
Stony Brook was able to score first, starting hot for its second consecutive game. After punting on their opening drive, the Seawolves scored all of their points in four straight drives in the first and second quarters. The first touchdown pass of the day for Bednarski was 11 yards, as he found Will Tye in the back of the end zone. Tye made an incredibly acrobatic catch and got the foot down for the score.
Two big runs by the two-headed running back monster set up this score for Stony Brook. Stacey Bedell bounced outside to the right for 20 yards. Marcus Coker followed up by bouncing outside again for 45 yards.
Coker had a great day, rushing for a Seawolves career-high 145 yards on 18 carries.
James Madison answered with a 13-play, 48-yard drive, but could not tie the game. Instead, they settled for a Ryan Maglio 41-yard field goal to cut the Seawolves lead to 7-3.
Stony Brook would answer quickly. After a good kick return by Marvin Hart, Bednarski marched the offense to the Dukes’ 43-yard line. He then hit Adrian Coxson on a slant route at the 30 and Coxson shed one tackle and took it to the house. The extra point made it 14-3.
Przemyslaw Popek drilled a 43-yard field goal with 7:43 to go in the first half, and Stony Brook extended its lead to 17-3.
The Dukes would then begin their comeback, as Lee started to turn it on and get this offense going. After a holding penalty called back a touchdown for JMU, the Dukes just threw it up top again and Lee hit Ishmael Hyman for a 47-yard touchdown and the lead was down to 17-10. Hyman finished the day with just that lone catch.
“That was a bad miscommunication,” redshirt freshman defensive back Hart said.
Bednarski would lead the offense down and make up for it though, and Coker went right up the middle from five yards out to make it 24-10 Seawolves with 1:49 to play in the first half.
The Dukes would end the half with momentum, as Maglio hit a 24-yard field goal as time expired to cut the lead to 24-13.
That momentum would carry into the second half, as JMU scored just 1:12 in. Jauan Latney had a big run in the drive, taking a carry for 43 yards to the outside. Lee completed a pass to Brown to finish the drive from one yard out, and just like that the Dukes were within four at 24-20.
The Seawolves had a chance to extend their lead early in the fourth quarter, as Stony Brook could not run it in from two yards out on three tries.
“You have to find a way to get it in [the endzone] and we couldn’t there,” Coker said.
The Seawolves then attempted a fake field goal on fourth and two in which holder Carlos Hernandez flipped the ball to James Kenner, but the play was stuffed before it could get going.
“We were winning and I wanted to make it 31-20. We weren’t going to win with 27 points,” Priore said. “We knew we were going to try it the first try we had.”
James Madison took that momentum and used it to take its first and only lead of the game three plays later. Lee hit a wide-open Brandon Ravenel for a 76-yard touchdown pass, which would be the clinching touchdown for the Dukes, giving them a 27-24 lead.
Stony Brook’s next two drives stalled at its own 41 and 46
yard line, respectively.
On their final drive of the game, Bednarski had his team at the James Madison 37-yard line when disaster struck.
The Dukes blitzed both defenders off the edge and the Seawolves offensive line could not pick it up, and the Bednarski was sacked and fumbled the ball.
James Madison’s Alex Mosley recovered it and that was the end of the game.
The Seawolves now have two more games left on their slate, with the home finale coming on Nov. 15 when they host the Rhode Island Rams at 1 p.m.
“We have a lot to play for and a lot to fight for. We have to win these two games, especially for these seniors,” Hart said.