The Stony Brook football team’s three-game win streak was snapped last weekend by Villanova, but the Seawolves will look to end the season by retaining the Golden Apple trophy against the Albany Great Danes at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m.
Both teams will be playing solely for pride, as the Seawolves (4-6, 3-4 CAA) clinched their third straight losing season, whereas the Great Danes (2-8, 1-6 CAA) are poised to finish in last place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). While Stony Brook suffered its first loss in over a month, both of Albany’s wins have come in the last two weeks.
The Seawolves are 9-13 against Albany, but they have split the last ten matchups between the two teams. The most recent meeting occurred this March, in which Stony Brook recorded its only win of the shortened spring season. Although the Seawolves were out-gained by 96 yards, they controlled the game by forcing four turnovers and committing zero on their way to capturing the Golden Apple by a score of 21-7.
As they head into their 23rd matchup, both teams find themselves toward the bottom of the CAA in most statistical rankings through 10 games this fall.
The Great Danes are 10th in total yards per game, but they rank third in passing yards, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Jeff Undercuffler. The Seawolves didn’t face Undercuffler in the spring because of a rib injury suffered in practice leading up to the game. In Stony Brook’s 2019 season finale, Undercuffler led the Great Danes to a 31-26 road win with 183 yards and one touchdown while only completing 45.7% of his passes.
The Seawolves will have to be ready for a more experienced Undercuffler this time around, especially since he beat them with a mediocre game last time. Despite their win streak ending last Saturday, the Seawolves extended their takeaway streak to four games and will look to add a few more against Undercuffler and the Great Danes.
Redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton has been the key to the Seawolves’ offense all year and should be in line for a big season finale. Albany ranks 11th in the CAA with 170.9 rush yards allowed per game this season, and Lawton is only 46 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season.
“It’s obviously a milestone that we talk about in football all the time,” head coach Chuck Priore said during Monday’s media teleconference. “He’s had a terrific year. He stayed healthy for the first time. He’s a physical runner, he’s got enough ability to break tackles and enough ability to get in the open field and change the field position. So, I think he’s certainly helped us be successful over the course of the season.”
Lawton currently leads Albany senior running back Karl Mofor by 56 yards for the CAA rushing title. Mofor was not originally a contender, but a 45-carry, 222-yard game against New Hampshire two weeks ago vaulted him up the leaderboard. He scored five touchdowns in the last two weeks to overtake Lawton in that category.
While this game will have no impact on playoff standings, both teams will be highly motivated because of the rivalry for the Golden Apple.
“When it first came about, I was not sure about how that would go, but the kids have really – in all the years we’ve played for it – really engaged in it and it is an important thing,” Priore said about the Golden Apple trophy. “I really think our kids are excited about it and we’re certainly looking forward to getting on the field on Saturday and fighting to retain it.”
Currently, among a group of five teams tied for sixth place, a win would guarantee that the Seawolves finish higher than their projected 10th place rank. With Lawton’s milestone and the Golden Apple on the line, expect the Seawolves to put their best effort into their last game of the year.