Redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Carbone was given the keys to the Stony Brook offense, as he made his first career start and took all snaps on Saturday. The game quickly turned into a Halloween nightmare for Carbone and the Seawolves, as the quarterback threw four interceptions en route to yet another disappointing loss for the home team.
Stony Brook Football’s losing streak was extended to five games—the school’s longest since the 2000 season—as Elon won, 21–7, in front of a stunned Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium crowd.
“The loss is on my back,” Carbone said. “It’s my fault. I played a pretty bad game.”
After his team’s fifth consecutive loss, Seawolves head coach Chuck Priore expressed doubt about his own future.
“I told the team this before the game,” Priore said. “I’ve got, prior to this game, four games left to coach—maybe in my career. Who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow morning?”
On defense, the Seawolves played well for most of the game, but were bitten by big plays. The Phoenix scored three times on long touchdowns, including a 24-yard passing touchdown from freshman quarterback Daniel Thompson early in the fourth quarter.
Thompson lofted a deep ball to the left side of the field. His wide receiver, freshman Jon Thomas, made a play on the football in the air, leaping and catching the go-ahead touchdown, which gave Elon a 14-7 lead that the Phoenix would not give up.
“Their kid made the play and our kid didn’t make the play,” Priore said.
With 6:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, freshman running back Malcolm Summers broke through the Seawolves’ defense for a 43-yard scamper into the end zone to put the Phoenix up by two touchdowns and push the game out of reach.
“I thought we played solid,” senior defensive back Naim Cheeseboro said. “We just have to keep on trucking. Things are going to happen, we just have to bounce back on the next play.”
Aside from the big-play touchdowns, the Seawolves’ defense held its own throughout the afternoon. Through three quarters, the Phoenix had -11 yards rushing the football, meaning they had lost more on the ground than they had gained up until that point. Elon gained fewer than 25 yards in 11 of its 15 offensive possessions.
On offense, Carbone got the nod under center for Stony Brook, playing every snap for the first time in his career as Priore looks to get the redshirt freshman experience before he is expected to be the starting quarterback next season.
The passing game was a disaster under Carbone, who completed 44 percent of his passes and threw for just 142 yards on 41 pass attempts. In addition to throwing four interceptions, Carbone had several other errant passes dropped by the opposing defense.
The lone bright spot for the Stony Brook offense came on the team’s first drive of the second half.
The Seawolves started with the football on their own 25-yard line to begin the third quarter. From there, Carbone led his team on an 18-play touchdown drive that lasted eight minutes and four seconds—the team’s longest drive of the season.
“[At halftime] we said we were going to run the football and try to shorten the game,” Priore said. “The question was whether we could sustain that kind of drive consistently for four quarters. We have to do more on offense.”
The possession featured several critical first downs, including a pair of fourth-down conversions. Sophomore running back Donald Liotine punctuated the drive with a one-yard score on a carry around the left end to tie the game, 7-7.
“We decided that we needed to run the ball,” Liotine said. “We had to play like a typical Stony Brook team, powering it in there. It worked out.”
But it only worked out on that drive, with the Seawolves failing to score the rest of the game.
Stony Brook’s team has been plagued by injuries all season, as their top two running backs—junior Stacey Bedell and freshman Isaiah White—are out for the year. Additionally, the offense is without sophomore slot receiver and punt returner Donavin Washington.
Sophomore defensive back Tyrice Beverette compounded the team’s injury woes when he left in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain.
“If you’re a great team, you can overcome injuries,” Priore said. “If you’re a good team, sometimes you can’t.”