(HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)
Marcus Coker (No. 34) ran the ball five yards for a touchdown in the third quarter in the Seawolves’ game against Rhode Island on Nov. 15. The Seawolves would go on to win the contest 35-14.(HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)

1st down: Where did that defense come from?

Alright, so do Aaron Thompson and Victor Ochi mean that much to this defense? Thompson tore his ACL during the second quarter of the game against James Madison, and Ochi was out with an ankle injury and was in a boot all game.

With them out, a suddenly porous defense gave up 210 yards on the ground, with 188 coming from Lyle McCombs, a man who averaged 81 yards per game in four games coming into the contest.

Also, James Caparell was able to break contain for a nine-yard bootleg touchdown late in the first half, and it looked as if these two young defenders, named “the top two defensive lineman in the conference” by Julian Quintin, meant a whole lot more to this defense than we previously thought.

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The last time Stony Brook even allowed a 100 yard rusher was on Sept. 27 to William & Mary, while McCombs rushed for 200, something that has not happened to the Seawolves defense since 2006.

We know Thompson is done for the year, but Ochi might need to come back if Stony Brook has a shot of containing a better running back in Omar Osbourne, who is fourth in the conference in rushing.

2nd down: Beverette is going to fit right in.

Thompson and Ochi being down meant that Seawolves fans got to see the up-and-coming of the Stony Brook defense and get a taste of what they will see next year.

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What they saw is a redshirt freshman by the name of Tyrice Beverette showing that he will not need any adjustment period after taking over Christian Ricard’s role as rover in the defense.

Beverette recorded the only two sacks in the game for Stony Brook, accumulating losses of 13 yards.

The latter of the sacks forced a fumble that was recovered by Quintin and taken 25 yards for a touchdown. Beverette also recorded an interception late that shut down any hope of a miraculous Rams comeback.

Coach Chuck Priore said in the press conference that if Ricard was not good enough, then Beverette would go right in.

That says a lot on Ricard’s spot, because Beverette is showing that there will be no falling off in that position in 2015.

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3rd down: Bedell is lightning in a bottle

Do not blink. You will miss a long Stacey Bedell touchdown run. He had two of those yesterday and the speed he brings to the table is phenomenal. On both TD runs, as soon as he got into the open, he was off to the races.  As soon as he gets outside, nobody is going to catch him, unless you are Quinton Littlejohn, as everybody joked in the press conference. Bedell had the same type of run in the spring game but Littlejohn caught him.

The sophomore UMass transfer has five touchdowns of over 30 yards, including two over 70, with Saturday’s 75-yarder and taking one 72 yards to the house against American International in September. Luckily for Stony Brook, they have his big playmaking ability for another year.

4th down: Save the best for last

That is what Stony Brook did, saving its best overall performance for their last clash at LaValle Stadium for 2014. The team got three touchdowns on the ground, and add one from the passing attack and the defense, and it was a very balanced effort.

Now, some would ask what about the 460 yards of offense Stony Brook generated last week in a losing effort? Well, this week, the Seawolves only generated 353 but here is the clincher, they were a positive in the turnover differential, something that has not happened since the Elon game on Oct. 18.

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Also, if there was such thing as finishing strong on the defensive end, the Seawolves saved arguably their best performance for the final 30 minutes.

For Rhode Island’s eight second-half drives, five were punts (three  three-and-outs), along with a fumble, interception and turnover on downs. Rhode Island recorded 240 yards of total offense in the first half, but only 60 in the second.

Extra point: Looking ahead to the Empire Clash

The yearly rivalry with the Great Danes of Albany has come again. In this rivalry, the intensity is certainly no lower than it is on the hardwood when the teams meet twice annually.

Stony Brook has won the previous two meetings, and Albany fans have to go back to 2007 for the last time that the Great Danes defeated Stony Brook.

That is also the last time that the state’s capital has hosted this contest.

The obvious key to this one will be the containing of Osbourne, the top back for Albany and a top-four back in the conference.

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Though he does not seem to have the explosive ability of Bedell, with his longest run being only 57 yards, he does seem to be very consistent, averaging 4.5 yards per rush.

On the other side of the ball, Albany is middle of the road when it comes to scoring defense, ranking sixth in the conference at 24 points against per game.

The Great Danes do struggle against the run, allowing 163.9 yards per game. It looks to be another case of who will be able to control the line and control the rushing attacks. Whoever controls those will have the FCS bragging rights of New York.

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