(HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)
The Seawolves ended the season with a 5-7 record, as well as the fourth-best rushing attack and the CAA’s third-leading rusher, Stacey Bedell. (HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)

1st Down: Rushing attack was lone offensive bright spot

Coach Chuck Priore’s bread and butter in his nine seasons at Stony Brook was the Seawolves’ rushing attack, and this year was no different. The Seawolves finished with the fourth-best rushing attack on the season (164.2 yards per game), along with the conference’s third-leading rusher in sophomore Stacey Bedell who averaged 101 yards per game, while averaging 101.5 in conference play. Bedell finished the season as the sixth player in Stony Brook history to finish with 1000 yards, totalling 1070 on the year. Along with that, he was very consistent, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. The Seawolves, as a team, were very consistent on the ground as well, averaging 3.9 yards per carry and the ground game was responsible for 16 of the team’s 27 touchdowns on the season.

2nd Down: Defense should be just as good next season

Two big pieces are gone from the conference’s number one defense, as seniors Christian Ricard and Davonte Anderson suited up for the last time in a Seawolves uniform on Saturday. Ricard averaged 7.7 tackles per game this season, with 1.75 tackles for loss per game and .75 sacks per game on the season. Anderson finished second in the league with four interceptions and leaves as the school’s all-time interceptions leader after breaking that record at Albany with his diving pick in the second quarter. However, it looks like the Seawolves are going to be in good hands. Redshirt freshman Tyrice Beverette showed flashes of being very good in the game against Rhode Island last Saturday, with a strip sack and an interception. Marvin Hart and Jaheem Woods look to be able to fill the void left by Anderson as well, as both of them recorded two interceptions on the season to try and keep that defensive backfield up to par.

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3rd Down: Consistent QB play key to success (or failure).

The offense will only go as far as the quarterback takes them. And this season, the offense did not go very far because the play at the quarterback position was far too inconsistent. Senior and Syracuse transfer John Kinder got benched after four games, leading Stony Brook’s offense to only 13 points in those games. Conor Bednarski came in and was able to show some flashes, but in the end was not able to make the passes needed to keep the offense balanced. Bednarski only completed 52.9 percent of his passes on the year, and threw for nine touchdowns along with seven interceptions. Kinder finished the year with only two touchdowns (both of which being 60+ yard touchdowns to Adrian Coxson) and five interceptions while completing 55.2 percent of his passes. The inconsistency at the quarterback position did not help the Seawolves offense. Hopefully, with Bednarski taking a full season of spring practice and into the new season in the fall, there will be a clear leader of the offense and a capable one to balance this offense back out and make it a formidable force.

4th Down: They were always in it

The Seawolves finished the season with a +32 point differential and did not lose a game by more than 10 points. Every game they had a chance to win, but whether it was the offense faltering or the defense giving up a big play, Stony Brook was not able to make the plays to win the game. That is the difference between average and great teams. Sometimes, it is just one play. Whether it is a late touchdown against William & Mary or a fumble during a drive which could tie or give them the lead against James Madison, the Seawolves always fell one step short. Another 5-7 finish is not something to ride home about, but after a 1-4 start, they did finish the season going 4-3 over their last seven games. But there were chances to win every one of them. They are just a couple plays away from being at least 7-5 and in the hunt for a playoff spot. Instead, for the second straight season, they will be watching at home.

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