Coming off a loss to No. 2 ranked James Madison University (JMU), the No. 22 ranked Stony Brook Seawolves hosted the New Hampshire Wildcats (UNH) on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, hoping to get back in the win column. But three failed fourth-down conversions combined with a few unlucky plays led to a UNH 20-14 victory, and a second straight loss for the Seawolves (4-3, 1-2 in CAA).
“Winning isn’t easy and obviously [this is a] competitive league. I don’t think we played our A-game, but I also give credit to [UNH],” Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore said in a postgame press conference. “Pretty close match, and I think we gave up field position a couple times… we fought on a long field; they got a short field several times.”
Over the course of the game, the Wildcats started with the ball between their own 40- and 50-yard lines twice, and once in Stony Brook’s territory. The Seawolves were able to lessen the blow of the excellent starting positions for the Wildcats, only giving up a field goal between the three drives. The two other drives did not go as well for New Hampshire; one ended via a strip sack fumble by graduate transfer defensive lineman Sean Hammonds Jr., which was recovered by redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Makye Smith, and the other ended the first half.
At halftime last week, Stony Brook had already put 21 points on the scoreboard. This week, they had a mere seven points, which came via a 15-yard touchdown pass from redshirt-junior quarterback Tyquell Fields to graduate transfer wide receiver Jean Constant. The pass was Fields’ ninth touchdown pass of the season and Constant’s fifth receiving touchdown of the season.
Coming out of the half, the Wildcats quickly drove 62 yards on seven plays and knocked in a 22-yard field goal only 3:02 into the quarter to put them up 10-7. After a Fields interception, the Seawolves quickly forced a punt and were able to answer the Wildcats field goal, with a one-yard touchdown run by redshirt-freshman running back Ty Son Lawton with 5:11 left in the quarter, 14-10, Stony Brook. This would be the only time the Seawolves led during the game.
It would be all UNH from there.
The Wildcats controlled the ball for a total of 12 minutes and two seconds during the fourth quarter.
The only glimmer of hope the Seawolves had during the fourth quarter — a Constant 86-yard punt return to the Wildcats six-yard line with 5:04 left in the fourth — was called back after review. Stony Brook fans and players were suddenly silent. It was as though all hope had left the stadium.
New Hampshire converted four of five third-down conversions and put up 10 unanswered points during the fourth quarter to seal the victory. This was their third straight CAA victory.
Until last week, Stony Brook had won 12 straight games at home; they’ve now lost two in a row at home. Coming into the game, the Seawolves had not lost two straight regular season games since the end of the 2016 season, when they lost their last four.
“I feel like we should win any game, whether the score is high or low,” Fields said in a post-game press conference. “We came out slow, that’s been our problem. I feel like once we get on top of that, we should be perfectly fine.”
Fields ended the night completing 12 of his 25 passes, for 180 yards with the TD pass to Constant and one interception. The TD pass to Constant marked the fifth straight game the two have connected for a score.
In what can be described as a never-ending game of who’s in and who’s out, the Seawolves again were without redshirt-junior defensive back EJ Fineran, who missed his sixth straight game with a hand injury. Redshirt-freshman tight end Isaiah Givens missed his second straight game with a left foot injury. Captain and senior defensive lineman Sam Kamara missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury, while junior linebacker Keirston Johnson missed the game with an unknown injury.
Priore addressed a couple of key injuries in the post-game press conference.
“Ty Son [Lawton] is a hell of a running back. Unfortunately, he did not practice again this week, because he’s been injured with his ankle. He’s got an ankle that’s honestly is [sic] not going to get any better,” Priore said. “Isaiah White is not healthy, he’s got an ankle injury, not ready to play.”
Lawton, who went down with an injury in the third quarter only to return on the following drive, finished the night with 127-yards rushing on 23 plays, including the one-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Seawolves will get some much-needed downtime as they are off next week, but will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 26 when they take on another Wildcats team — the No. 5 ranked Villanova University — in Villanova, PA.