Every week, our Sports staff will take a deeper look at Stony Brook’s football games and what the team did well and where it went wrong.
First Down: Biggest win since entering the Colonial Athletic Association.
After handing New Hampshire its first Colonial Athletic Association loss since Nov. 2, 2013, Stony Brook emerged as legitimate playoff contender. The Wildcats came into the week as the No. 13-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision. They were national semifinalists in each of the last two seasons, and heading into Saturday’s game with 12 straight wins against conference opponents, including postseason games.
This is Stony Brook’s biggest win since entering the conference in 2013. At No. 13, New Hampshire is the highest-ranked opponent the Seawolves have ever defeated. The win did not look like a fluke, either. Stony Brook dominated on the defensive front and played well enough offensively to sustain the defense. New Hampshire managed just six total points against Stony Brook while the Seawolves recorded 397 total yards of offense after accumulating 475 total yards last week against Central Connecticut.
Second Down: Run, Stacey, run.
After winning CAA Offensive Player of the Week last week, junior running back Stacey Bedell topped that performance on an even bigger stage. He rushed for 193 yards on 21 carries with a 51-yard touchdown. He continues to be Stony Brook’s offensive catalyst and a perfect fit for head coach Chuck Priore’s ground-and-pound tendencies, as this goes with his 22-carry, 133-yard performance against Central Connecticut State. Priore has used a run-heavy offense throughout his ten seasons as the Seawolves head coach.
Third Down: Someone passes, Bolden catches.
Before the game, Priore said that while senior quarterback Conor Bednarski and redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Carbone would each get game reps under center, Bednarski would remain the starter. But it was Carbone that got the lion’s share of time under center on Saturday night. The freshman went 13-for-19 passing with 109 yards and a touchdown, while Bednarski went 2-for-5 with 60 yards and a touchdown.
Regardless of who the quarterback is, it looks like Stony Brook found a number-one receiver in sophomore Ray Bolden. After catching five passes for 61 yards in his Seawolves debut last week, the Euless, Texas native recorded seven receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns—including a dramatic pass from Bednarski as time expired in the first half.
At 5-foot-9-inches and 165 pounds, Bolden is one of the smallest players on the field. But it is his game-breaking speed that makes him so valuable. According to his recruiting profile, Bolden once ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and will jump out to any observer as arguably the fastest player on the field. Bolden could serve as a perfect replacement for last year’s top receiver, Adrian Coxson.
Fourth Down: Great D, thanks to Ochi.
Some defensive linemen would be satisfied by recording 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks during a full season. Senior Victor Ochi did this on Saturday night alone. Ochi anchored a Seawolves defense that allowed just six points to a Wildcats offense that averaged 36 points per game in 2014. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named CAA Defensive Player of the Week on Monday afternoon.
The Wildcats’ starting quarterback, senior Sean Goldrich, was sidelined with an ankle injury, but Stony Brook’s defense played impressively regardless of the circumstances.
Stony Brook shut down New Hampshire on all aspects of offense, as the Wildcats completed just 50 percent of their passes and averaged a meager 2.4 yards per carry. The Seawolves’ sophomore defensive back Tyrice Beverette and senior linebacker Jeremy Leggiero also played solid games on Saturday, with Beverette breaking up two passes and Leggiero compiling six tackles and a sack.
Extra point: On the road again
After starting out the season with back-to-back home wins, the Seawolves will play on the road Sept. 27 against the William & Mary Tribe, which went 4-4 in CAA play last season. The Tribe are 1-1 this year, coming off a game in which it nearly upset FBS team University of Virginia 35-29. The game will air at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on SNY. When the Tribe faced off against Stony Brook in last year’s homecoming game, William & Mary won 27-21 in overtime.