After winning every home game last season and a 12-game home win streak spanning parts of the past three seasons, the Stony Brook football team has now lost three straight home games.
Following a 31-14 loss to the Towson University Tigers (6-4, 3-3) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 9, the Seawolves (5-5, 2-4) are all but eliminated from the FCS playoffs.
“You’re not going to win when you don’t have the ball for 40 minutes. When you commit 11 penalties, things did not go correctly,” Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore said in a postgame press conference. “We did not play the disciplined football that we should play. Give credit to Towson, they created some of those issues. I’m not disappointed in our effort, but in the execution of what we need to do to be successful.”
Towson controlled the ball for 39:08 and got on the board first with 0:40 remaining in the first quarter after senior kicker Aidan O’Neill drilled a 29-yard field goal. The successful kick for O’Neill made him the all-time leader in field goals in CAA history.
On the following possession, redshirt-junior quarterback Tyquell Fields found redshirt-senior wide receiver Nick Anderson, which resulted in a 71-yard catch by Anderson. Two plays later, Fields was picked off in the end zone by a Towson defender on an under-thrown ball.
Stony Brook was able to stop the Tigers from scoring off the turnover, thanks in part to redshirt-junior rover Augie Contressa, who sacked Towson redshirt-senior quarterback Tom Flacco for a 12-yard loss. The Contressa sack forced the Tigers to punt, and on the next drive, Fields found Anderson for a 44-yard touchdown, putting Stony Brook up 7-3 with 7:19 left in the second quarter.
But after a quick three and out for the Seawolves, the Tigers owned the remaining time of the quarter, scoring two touchdowns within four minutes of each other, to go into the half with a 17-7 lead over Stony Brook.
“We had a bad seven minutes in a row and the game went from 7-3 us, to 17-7 Towson. That’s been our Achilles heel,” Priore said in the press conference.
Although Stony Brook started the second half with the ball, the Tigers were able to score less than three minutes into the third quarter after forcing the Seawolves to punt on the previous drive.
Stony Brook went nearly 20 minutes without a point during the game. The Seawolves found the end zone for the second — and final — time during the game with 2:27 left in the third. The two-yard pass from Fields to Anderson was Fields’s 13th touchdown pass of the season.
Anderson had a career night for himself, pulling in eight catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson’s 205 yards were the most receiving yards by a Stony Brook player since 2012, when Kevin Norrell pulled down 214 yards against Charleston Southern on Oct. 6. It was also only the fifth time in program history that a player had a 200-plus yard receiving game.
After the game, Anderson commented on the career day, “Take the fact that we had so many opportunities, that’s a good thing. We had an opportunity to make plays, and we made them at certain times. The end result was not what we wanted, but there’s a confidence factor in know that explosive plays were made today. Scoreboard did not reflect those plays.”
Fields’s night ended with mixed results. Completing only 13 of his 35 passes, he threw two touchdown passes and as well as three interceptions for a total of 241 yards. He also was the lone Seawolf to rush for more than 40 yards, finishing with 77 yards on only seven carries.
Defensively, the Seawolves consistently pressured Towson, and even sacked Flacco five times for a total loss of 31 yards. Redshirt-senior defensive back Synceir Malone and redshirt-sophomore linebacker Reidgee Dimanche led the defense, gathering 14 and 13 total tackles, respectively.
During the course of the game, redshirt-sophomore tight end Anthony Del Negro managed to block a Towson punt, which was recovered by redshirt-freshman linebacker Souleymane Camara. The blocked punt placed the Seawolves in an excellent field position that led to the second Fields to Anderson touchdown.
After missing six straight games with a hand injury, redshirt-junior defensive back EJ Fineran returned in the win against Villanova, only to once again miss games due to a hand injury. Redshirt-freshman tight end Isaiah Givens missed his fifth straight game with a left foot injury. Captain and senior defensive lineman Sam Kamara, who has not seen the field since the final seconds of the victory against Rhode Island, is out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, while junior linebacker Keirston Johnson missed the game with an unknown injury.
Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Keegan Henderson missed his second straight game due to injury, as well as redshirt sophomore running back Seba Nekhet who was injured during the Richmond game. Graduate transfer wide receiver Jean Constant also missed his second straight game, due to unknown injury. Redshirt-freshman Ty Son Lawton, who left the game due to injury, had X-Rays taken after the game.
Stony Brook heads to Newark, Delaware next Saturday, Nov. 16 to face the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. The Blue Hens (4-6, 2-4) will be celebrating Senior Day, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.