Another game, same result.
The Stony Brook football team lost its fourth straight on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Maryland, as they fell to the Towson Tigers 21-14 to drop to 1-5 (0-3 CAA). Stony Brook’s inability to make the big play, especially when it counted, reared its ugly head again as they could not capitalize on what was a decent overall performance.
In this case, Stony Brook did not have to be great to win this game, either. Towson was coming off of three straight losses and back-to-back blowouts against North Dakota State and Football Bowl Subdivision member San Diego State.
Looking at the stat sheet, it may appear that Stony Brook performed better. The Seawolves outgained the Tigers and held them to only 293 yards and 21 points. However, what killed Stony Brook was that the Seawolves could not get off the field when they needed to, a recurring problem that haunts them week by week.
Towson converted 10 of 16 third down opportunities and both fourth down attempts, unable to force either a turnover on downs or a regular old turnover. The Seawolves played their fourth straight game without a takeaway, allowing the Tigers to win the time of possession battle by just under three minutes.
Towson scored touchdowns on three of their four red zone opportunities as well, with the only stop being a fumble on what could have been another touchdown. Stony Brook also recorded zero sacks, not making a splash play in the backfield.
On the offensive side of the ball, Stony Brook rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns in another trademark ground-and-pound special. The Seawolves did a good job moving the chains, picking up 25 total first downs and converting on 61.5% of their third down chances.
In what has become a typical performance, redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton had another huge day, rushing for 119 yards and two touchdowns on only 19 carries. He averaged an explosive 6.3 yards per carry and provided his first multi-touchdown game of the season. He has now scored in five of Stony Brook’s six games, totalling a CAA-high 544 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
The only game in which Lawton did not score was against Fordham, where he averaged six yards per carry before leaving the game with an injury. He has certainly been the shining star for Stony Brook in 2021. The offense took care of the ball much better than they had in weeks past, only committing one turnover, which was ironically on a crucial fumble by Lawton in the fourth quarter.
However, graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields threw for only 220 yards and was sacked four times for a loss of 37 yards, including a 15-yard sack on a fourth-down play. The Seawolves could not convert either of their fourth down attempts, including on their final drive when they had nearly reached the Towson red zone, needing a touchdown to send the game into overtime.
Outside of Lawton’s great day, Stony Brook’s running game only rushed for 24 yards on 20 carries, good for a 1.2 average yards per carry. Scoring 14 points in a game is rarely going to cut it in the CAA, with the Seawolves needing to do a better job of finishing drives that reach deep into opponent territory.
In what could be considered a weekly occurrence, redshirt sophomore kicker Angelo Guglielmello also missed a field goal, this time a manageable 35-yarder. The lack of a kicking game often forces head coach Chuck Priore to make his offense go for it even when the offense is already deep in opponent territory. The opponent’s 18-yard line should not be considered no man’s land, but the starting kicker’s performance this season would beg to differ.
There was an interesting play before the end of the first half where Stony Brook blocked a field goal which was returned 41 yards by redshirt freshman linebacker Tyler King. While the Seawolves’ defense was officially credited with a takeaway on the play and Towson’s offense a turnover, neither unit contributed to either such thing.
Stony Brook’s numbers offensively and defensively have remained mostly consistent this season. They are consistent reminders of why the Seawolves are losing and what solid performances they are wasting in some areas. Big performances by the running game but never by the passing game, not allowing a lot of yards but not getting defensive stops, losing the turnover battle, not making splash plays on either end and missing easy kicks.
It happens every Saturday.
There are ways in which this loss was different, however. Redshirt sophomore Shawn Harris Jr. had a big day, catching eight passes for 109 yards, including a big 50-yard pass from Fields. It was the first 100-receiving-yard performance by a Stony Brook wide receiver all season. Redshirt senior defensive back Randy Pringle’s field goal block was the first of the year for the team. Everything else, though, was more of just the same.
So was the result.
The Seawolves need a splash play from their defense and must improve their play in situational moments. As nice as it is to win the total yards game, they need to win the situational game against the Delaware Blue Hens (3-2, 2-1 CAA). If they fail to pick off a pass, get a stop, move the ball vertically or make a kick, then they will be in trouble. The Seawolves will play in front of their fans at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, looking to snap this ugly skid and find their first conference win of the season. The pressure is on.