Amassing 14 penalties that set the team back 117 yards, Stony Brook Football could not help but shoot itself in the proverbial foot.
Despite these self-inflictions, shining through the flurry of yellow flags was a fourth quarter opportunity. Junior defensive back Darin Peart blocked a William & Mary field goal attempt, preventing the Tribe’s 14-7 lead from expanding to two scores. Given a visible spark of intensity, the Seawolves’ sideline marched onto the field in an uproar of excitement as the clock dipped just below eight minutes.
But after redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone was sidelined because of a shoulder injury, Stony Brook failed to capitalize on its momentum, ultimately falling 14-9 to William & Mary on Saturday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
“When we blocked the field goal, I definitely felt like we would go down and score and tie the game up,” fifth-year wide receiver Tim Keith said. “We had a chance to, but we didn’t get it done.”
Carbone bailed on a depleted passing attack early on. He did not record a completed pass until the third quarter and would finish the game with a mere three completions on ten attempts to couple his two interceptions.
“Certainly, we haven’t been very productive offensively in a couple weeks,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “That carried over today.”
However, Carbone did find success in an unlikely fashion: rushing the ball himself. The team’s second leading rusher on the afternoon, he ran for 40 yards on nine attempts. Unfortunately, it was during one of these draws up the middle that he was injured. The extent of this injury remains uncertain.
Replacing Carbone, redshirt sophomore quarterback Pat Irwin inherited a game-deciding drive.
Faced with a 4th and two with three minutes left in the contest, Irwin pitched an end-around pass to Keith behind the line of scrimmage. Keith then hurled a shot downfield, attempting to connect with junior wide receiver Ray Bolden. Bolden did not come down with the ball, but facing heavy coverage, he elicited a pass interference call that gave Stony Brook a fresh set of downs and a second chance to tie.
“We practiced [that play] for a couple weeks now,” Keith said. “When I saw [Bolden] getting held, I just wanted to put the ball in the right spot so we could get the call.”
Redshirt junior running back Stacey Bedell followed with back-to-back rushes, taking the ball inside the ten yard line. After four quarters of stifling penalties and untimely turnovers, the end zone was a mere seven yards away. One drive: that is all that was needed.
But Irwin would overthrow three consecutive balls, forcing a turnover on downs. William & Mary, pressed against the goal line, allowed a purposeful safety, establishing a 14-9 score that would serve as the game’s final culmination.
“This was certainly not a great effort on Stony Brook’s part,” Priore said. “The 14 penalties say enough.”
With the matchup decidedly chippy, frustration against a considerable number of penalties seemed to fuel some tempers, with assistant coaches not shy to confront referees with their opinions.
These tensions would climax with referees ejecting William & Mary’s offensive anchor, senior running back Kendell Anderson, for kicking an opposing player during the second quarter.
Besides the late-game safety, the Seawolves’ only scoring play occurred on the first drive of the game when redshirt freshman defensive back Synceir Malone blocked a William & Mary punt attempt, reminiscent of the season opener against North Dakota. Senior defensive back Kye Morgan promptly scooped up the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
“I think it’s a great lift. It was an exciting play and nobody expected it to happen,” Morgan said. “It definitely reminded me of North Dakota, the same feeling.”
Stony Brook’s final regular season home game will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12 when they host conference foe Maine.
With their loss, the Seawolves will need to win out to remain in playoff contention.
“We’ll probably have to get some help to get into [the playoffs],” Keith said. “We just got to go out and play like we still have something on the line, which we do.”