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Stony Brook’s offense, right, lines up against Sacred Heart University’s defense, left, on Sept. 25, 2016 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. EVAN YUSON/THE STATESMAN

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone repeated one sentiment in the postgame press conference on Saturday: he had to do better.

“I think [Sacred Heart] is a really good team, but I don’t think they got our best shot, ” he said. “I think we could deal with them if we played our best, but it wasn’t our night tonight.”

Winning quarterbacks, after all, do not finish games with 97 yards, two interceptions and a 57.8 passer rating. And the Seawolves were finished once Carbone threw an interception at the beginning of the third quarter, immediately putting the Pioneers in the redzone.

Anyone could have blamed Carbone for the disappointing performance, but a successful offense doesn’t start with the quarterback; it starts with the offensive line.

The constant pressure Carbone faced ruined Stony Brook’s passing attack. He did not have enough time in the pocket to make smart throws, often under-throwing streaking receivers.

Carbone said he should have thrown the ball away and not risked those passes, but the blame should not wholly fall on his shoulders. The offensive line’s failure to protect the quarterback is at greater fault.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Pat Irwin had two fumbles as he faced a Sacred Heart defensive line bent on destruction.

The offensive line has failed to do its job multiple times throughout the season. In the opening win against North Dakota, the line allowed four sacks. Against Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Temple, the line gave way to three.

All of Carbone’s touchdowns this season came against Richmond, the only game where he had enough time to process decisions.

However, the offensive line has improved on its run-blocking. In the first two games, the team rushed for a combined 111 yards. In the loss against Sacred Heart, Stony Brook ran for 144 yards.

While Stony Brook’s offense is run-heavy, the passing game cannot improve unless the offensive line does. Rather than blaming himself, Carbone only has to look in front of him to see who really needs to do better.

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