Every week, our Sports staff will take a deeper look at Stony Brook’s football games and what the team did well and where they went wrong.
1st down: Stacey Bedell picking up where he left off.
Junior running back Stacey Bedell finished his 2014 campaign with 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns after separating himself from a crowded backfield. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry as a sophomore and finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association by averaging just under 98 rushing yards per game.
Now, Bedell is back for his junior year and is still riding high. He ran for 30 yards on the first play of the home opener Saturday against Central Connecticut State and did not look back. The Mastic Beach native ran the ball 22 times for 133 yards and a career-high three touchdowns that night. Fans should not expect these numbers to change, as Bedell is already making an early case for CAA Offensive Player of the Year.
2nd down: It is not just Conor Bednarski who is successful under center.
Head coach Chuck Priore told the media after the game on Saturday that senior quarterback Conor Bednarski had a nagging shoulder injury. As a result, Priore played it safe with the second-year starter and sat him the entire second half. His replacement, redshirt freshman Joe Carbone, did not disappoint, bringing about the question of how much Carbone will be used going forward.
While rushing 10 times for 16 yards and scoring the other two touchdowns the Seawolves offense put up Saturday night, he also completed 66.7 percent of his passes, going 10-for-15 for 109 yards. Carbone tends to run quickly sometimes, which is his downside. But during the game Saturday, he definitely showed a little more quickness than Bednarski had, which could become a problem for opposing defenses to plan around.
3rd down: Kicking game remains a problem.
Because of the rain on Saturday, the ball was slippery, and so was the turf at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. But as a coach, fan or player, it always gets a little unnerving when your team successfully drives down into scoring territory and comes away with no points. This happened on two occasions for the Seawolves Saturday night.
The first such occasion came after the team drove 40 yards in 10 plays, and junior kicker Przemyslaw Popek badly hooked a 27-yarder that would have put the Seawolves up 10-6 in the first quarter. After draining one from 32 yards on his second try, the Poland native missed one short from 37 yards. Against these conference opponents, Stony Brook is going to have to start taking points where they can get them. This depends heavily on having a good kicker.
4th down: Isaiah White emerges as potential RB sidekick.
For every Batman, there must be a Robin. With Bedell taking the reins as the dominant running back, someone is going to need to give him a break once in awhile. On Saturday, that man was freshman running back Isaiah White.
Although he did not score, he actually averaged more yards per carry than Bedell did. The Longwood High School graduate saw 17 carries in his first collegiate football game, totaling 103 yards at an average of 6.1 yards per carry (slightly above Bedell’s 6.0). If White and Bedell can continue to run at this clip, they will be a very formidable rushing attack heading into conference play.
Extra point: Conference play begins with defending champs.
The Seawolves’ conference schedule begins next week with a showdown against the defending CAA champion New Hampshire Wildcats. The national semifinalists from a season ago have split their opening two games, losing at San Jose State of the FBS’ Mountain West Conference on Sept. 3 and taking down Colgate on Saturday.
Although not a lot can be taken from two non-conference games, the focus will be on the backfield of UNH and its QB-RB tandem of junior running back Dalton Crossan and senior quarterback Sean Goldrich. It will be a classic battle of good offense versus good defense, which was the case a year ago when the Seawolves lost 28-20 in a heartbreaker in New Hampshire.