The Stony Brook football team lost a heartbreaker on the road at the Rhode Island Rams on Saturday, Oct. 2, suffering a 27-20 overtime defeat to extend its losing streak to three games. Coming off a demoralizing 31-14 home blowout to a Fordham team in a weaker conference, the Seawolves performed much better this week, but much better still was not enough.
It was the first time in program history that Stony Brook had ever lost to Rhode Island after winning its first seven contests against the Rams. Dating back to 2019, the Seawolves are 2-11 in their last 13 games.
Here’s what went right for Stony Brook: redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton played.
Last week, he got off to a splendid start, rushing seven times for 42 yards and averaging six yards per carry before leaving the game with an injury. He looked healthy on Saturday, as he carried the rock a season-high 28 times for a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown. It was his second 100-yard game of the season.
The touchdown was Lawton’s fourth of the season and he has now accumulated 425 yards and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry through the first five games of the season. His 85 yards per game puts him on pace to rush for 935 yards this season.
He spearheaded a strong rushing attack that rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns, all while averaging 4.5 yards per carry as a team. It was a very effective performance statistically from head coach Chuck Priore’s trademark “ground-and-pound” offense.
However, outside of Lawton’s performance, the rest of the running game combined for 40 yards on 14 carries not including kneel-downs. The 2.9 yards per carry outside of Lawton’s total was very ineffective, especially with a quarterback known for his mobility.
Outside of Lawton’s performance, there was nothing much of anything to write home about for the Seawolves. Redshirt senior wide receiver Delante Hellams Jr. had a solid day as the team’s leading receiver, hauling in four passes from graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields for 66 yards. Hellams made a big play in the fourth quarter as he converted a crucial 3rd-and-4, hauling in a 36-yard pass from Fields which helped set up a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, graduate defensive tackle Brandon Lopez had a big day in the trenches, racking up 3.5 tackles for loss and sharing a half-sack along with graduate cornerback Dajon Owens. Redshirt freshman linebacker Tyler King led the defense with eight tackles and a pass breakup, while also sharing a half sack with redshirt junior defensive end Makye Smith.
Stony Brook’s pass defense was solid, too, as they held redshirt junior quarterback Kasim Hill to just 21 of 37 passing for only 226 yards. He only tossed one touchdown pass after the secondary allowed four last Saturday against Fordham.
Now, what went wrong for the Seawolves? A bevy of things. Despite 192 rushing yards, they only gained 293 total yards. The passing game lagged, as it has all season, with Fields only completing nine of his 19 passes for 101 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. The pick stalled a drive that was going well, coming off of a 22-yard scamper by Lawton. Rhode Island took over at their own 11 and drove the ball downfield in eight plays before collecting seven points off the turnover, capping off an 89-yard drive with a rushing touchdown.
Speaking of allowing rushing touchdowns: Stony Brook gave up two on the day to go along with 188 yards on 4.5 yards per carry. As effective as their rushing offense was, their rushing defense was almost just as ineffective. This is a unit that had been holding their opponents to low yards per carry numbers, but that was not the case against Rhode Island.
Also on the defensive side of the ball, the secondary went yet another week without an interception. They have only caught two interceptions all season long, both of which were against Colgate in week two. They have not picked off a pass in any of the last three games, a big contributing factor to the losing streak. The defense has not forced or recovered a fumble since week one against New Hampshire either. They have not even forced a single turnover since the Colgate game, after having five (three fumble recoveries, two picks) through the first two games. Neither team’s pass rush was strong, with both sides only producing two sacks each.
Stony Brook was outgained 414-293 on the day. Situationally, the Seawolves hurt themselves. They only converted five out of 15 third downs for a 33.3% success rate. Defensively, though they allowed a 45% conversion rate, they still recorded 11 third-down stops. However, it still was not enough. Once again, the red zone defense was horrible, as Rhode Island’s offense scored in all three trips.
On special teams, redshirt sophomore kicker Angelo Guglielmello missed an extra point in the third quarter, which ended proving costly in the end, as the game went into overtime at 20 apiece. That extra point being converted would have changed the end-of-regulation scenario massively, as Stony Brook’s fourth quarter touchdown and PAT would have given them a one-point lead. Of course, they lost the game for reasons other than just the missed extra point.
Tied at 20 in overtime, Rhode Island took a 27-20 lead on a 27-yard touchdown pass by Hill. Stony Brook converted a big 3rd-and-10 with a 14-yard pass to the 11-yard line. After that, Priore called his best player’s number four times in a row. Lawton ran for nine yards between first and second down, bringing up a 3rd-and-1. Lawton was stuffed up the middle, bringing up 4th-and-1. After a Rhode Island timeout, Stony Brook ran up the middle with Lawton one more time, but he was stopped again.
The game was lost right there after previously being 2-for-2 on fourth down before that stop. As well as Lawton ran all day, it was intriguing that Fields was never given the chance to keep it himself for a QB sneak.
With the loss, Stony Brook (1-4, 0-2 CAA) remains one of four teams without a win in Colonial Athletic Association play. The Seawolves’ next chance comes against a struggling Towson Tigers team (1-3, 0-1 CAA) on Saturday, Oct. 9 coming off a bye week. Like Stony Brook, Towson also owns a three-game skid — one of those streaks will be snapped next Saturday.