Following their bye week, the Stony Brook football team will look to continue their win streak on the road against the Maine Black Bears at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6.
The Seawolves (3-5, 2-3 CAA) won their last two games thanks to improving their red zone efficiency and creating turnovers, but Maine has also found a groove in the last few weeks. The Black Bears have won their last three games, moving to 4-4 (3-3 CAA) and are coming off a 45-24 road victory over Rhode Island.
Maine has owned the series with Stony Brook, winning five of seven matchups, including their meeting in March last season. The Black Bears won that game 35-19, marking the fifth time Maine held the Seawolves under 20 points.
The Seawolves should have several chances to score this Saturday, as Maine has one of the worst defenses in the Colonial Athletic Association.
In their spring matchup, junior quarterback Joe Fagnano torched the Seawolves for 250 yards and four touchdowns while completing 65.6% of his passes. Fagnano last played on Sept. 11, when an ankle injury forced him to exit early against James Madison. In his absence, redshirt freshman quarterback Derek Robertson has averaged 192.1 yards per game, completed 50.5% of his passes and thrown 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games.
During Monday’s media teleconference, Maine’s head coach Nick Charlton said that Fagnano would return to practice this week, but they would have to see how he feels before determining his status for Saturday. If Fagnano misses another week, the Seawolves defense cannot afford to expect an easy day, as Robertson is coming off his best game of the year with 264 yards and four touchdowns against Rhode Island.
The Black Bears have also seen sophomore running back Freddie Brock blossom into a top rusher in the CAA. Brock averages 4.91 yards per carry and is coming off a career-high 123 rush yards against Rhode Island. In the spring matchup with Stony Brook, Brock rushed for 61 yards on only nine carries in what was his third collegiate game.
“He’s explosive, he can change the field, he’s a physical runner and he had a good game against us in the springtime,” head coach Chuck Priore said about Brock during Monday’s media teleconference. “You’ve got to be able to run the football to be successful as an offense, and I think that was a huge reason for their success last Saturday.”
Offensively for the Seawolves, they will have a chance to continue their newfound success in the red zone, as the Black Bears have allowed opposing teams to score on 83.8% of their trips to the red zone.
The Seawolves faced two defenses that were strong against the run in their last two games, but Maine allows 152.3 rush yards per game, which ranks ninth in the CAA. Expect the CAA’s rushing leader redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton to impose his will on Maine’s defense this Saturday.
Maine’s win streak has opened the door for a potential run at a playoff spot, although they will likely need to win each of their last three games and get some help from other teams to snag one of the last spots. Considering the circumstances, Maine will likely be treating their final regular season games as playoff games and play with a do-or-die mentality.
On the other side, the Seawolves have the benefit of rest and extra preparation from their bye week. “When you play this late in the year and you have a bye week, you get a chance to really watch a team a little bit more closely than a normal week of preparation,” Priore said.
The Seawolves have played in three games decided by one score, and it would not be surprising if this Saturday marks the fourth such game.