Stony Brook Football head coach Chuck Priore looked jovial after the team’s win against Richmond, then the No. 2 team in the Football Championship Subdivision. He was visibly excited and sounded as if he could talk for days.
But the man that walked into Saturday’s postgame press conference was a far cry from the gleeful coach. Priore was stoic as he sat and fielded questions. He looked tired. He should be tired. Stony Brook, for the second year in a row, went from a playoff team to just barely being able to make it across the finish line.
“I think you put it all in perspective,” Priore said of the loss. “William & Mary is a very good football team so that’s the first thing we all have to understand. I said it during the week, they’re a good 3-5 team and they lost some close games.”
The hope has been built up each year. In 2015, Stony Brook upset New Hampshire, then the 17th best team in the FCS, to give them a win against the highest ranked team in school history. Fast forward to nearly a year later, the Seawolves mauled the Spiders 42-14, beating the record for highest ranking win. After a loss to Sacred Heart, Stony brook went on a three game win streak, giving the team its best start to a season since joining the Colonial Athletic Association.
Even with the best start to a season since 2012, the FCS Playoffs are still a reach. A 43-14 loss to New Hampshire on Oct. 29 and last Saturday’s 14-9 loss to William & Mary have all but ruined Stony Brook’s chances of reaching the postseason.
“[The loss] takes a little bit of a toll,” Tim Keith, graduate wide receiver, said of the Seawolves’ playoff chances. “We just got to keep winning our games, keep practicing hard. We’ll probably need some help to get in but everybody can’t go into next week thinking that the season’s over.”
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone’s shoulder injury, sustained in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss, further complicates things. While he was not the best offensive weapon in the Seawolves’ arsenal, Carbone is still leagues ahead of backups redshirt sophomore quarterback Pat Irwin and redshirt freshman quarterback Hasan Farraj. Irwin, who played in his place during Stony Brook’s last drive, did not throw a completion in seven passing attempts.
“I don’t even know what his injury is,” Priore said.
With no timetable set for Carbone’s return, the Seawolves will have to continue to force the rushing game. That plan has failed in the past two games, with redshirt junior running back Stacey Bedell averaging a total of 2.45 yards per carry and rushing for a combined total of 87 yards.
If Stony Brook even wants to think about beating Maine on Nov. 12, the team will need a miracle. If the Seawolves still want a playoff berth, they are going to need more.