It was like a rerun of a television episode Stony Brook Football fans never wanted to watch again: senior quarterback Conor Bednarski was pummeled to the ground. A defender scooped up the ensuing fumble and proceeded to waltz into the endzone for a touchdown, changing the momentum and leading to another loss for the Seawolves.
The defensive score by junior defensive end Trevor Bates gave the Black Bears a 20-10 advantage with 14:22 remaining in the game. For Bednarski, the play provided perhaps the worst case of déjà vu imaginable—it was eerily resemblant of a second-quarter fumble that was recovered and run the other way for a touchdown in last week’s loss against Towson, spoiling Homecoming.
Stony Brook needed to win this game for its best shot to make the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, but those chances took a major hit as Maine won the game 23-10, dropping the Seawolves’ record to just 2-4.
Maine’s victory came despite a strong first half by Stony Brook in which the Seawolves forced a sack-fumble of their own.
In the second quarter, senior linebacker Julian Quintin stormed into the pocket with speed, forcing Maine senior quarterback Dan Collins to fumble and the Seawolf recovered the ball, giving Stony Brook a golden opportunity.
Five plays later, freshman tight end Cal Daniels hauled in a two-yard touchdown pass from Bednarski—the first of his career—for a 10-3 lead with 4:16 remaining in the quarter.
On the ensuing possession for Maine, sophomore quarterback Drew Belcher marched the Black Bears into Seawolves territory, where Stony Brook blocked a 44-yard field goal as the first half expired to take a seven-point lead into the locker room.
Like Stony Brook, Maine splits time between two quarterbacks. On Saturday, it was Belcher that shined, as the versatile quarterback passed for 109 yards, completing 68.7 percent of his passes. Belcher was a force in the running game as well, where he converted on several critical third down plays on the read option.
After his defense recovered a third quarter fumble dropped by Stony Brook sophomore running back Donald Liotine, Belcher made the Seawolves pay. Rolling to his left, Belcher spun off a hit from an SBU defender and dove into the end zone to tie the game at 10-10.
The Seawolves defense played well most of the game against the Black Bears, holding Maine to 220 total yards.
On a third-and-inches situation in the first quarter, Belcher was sacked by senior linebacker Trokon-Rahim Cassell II, forcing a Maine field goal. In the second quarter, Cassell came up big on third and fourth downs to force a turnover-on-downs. The Oregon transfer had 10 tackles, a career-high.
With the game tied 10-10, Belcher and the Maine offense had first-and-goal at the one-yard line at the end of the third quarter. Standing tall again, the Seawolves forced the Black Bears to settle for a field goal, which gave Maine a three-point lead.
The defensive stand seemed like a swing of momentum in Stony Brook’s favor, only to be forgotten about just minutes later after Bednarski’s devastating fumble.
Stony Brook’s offense struggled, particularly in the running game. The poor performance by the overwhelmed offensive line and the running backs resulted in the Seawolves racking up only 10 yards on 26 carries—an average of 0.4 yards per run.
The void left behind by injured junior running back Stacey Bedell, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, has not been filled well, as everyone carrying the football seemed to struggle.
One bright spot for Stony Brook has been sophomore wide receiver Ray Bolden, who has emerged as the team’s dynamo on offense following the Bedell injury. Bolden is playing with a bad shoulder himself, head coach Chuck Priore said after last week’s game.
Bolden caught nine passes for 91 yards, including a 41-yard-grab from redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Carbone that set up a second quarter field goal.
Two late drives for the Seawolves in an attempt to cut into the Black Bears’ lead each ended with no points. Penalties doomed the team’s bid for a comeback.
With a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the game, a Bolden reception that would have put Stony Brook deep into Maine territory was erased by an offensive holding call that killed the drive. The Seawolves committed nine penalties for 83 yards in the game.
Stony Brook will look to regroup from another disappointing loss—its fourth in a row—when it hosts Elon next week at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Oct. 31.