After a disappointing first half of the season, the Stony Brook football team won four of its final five games, including the Battle for the Golden Apple in the season finale, sending graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields off on a high note.
Fields was on the Stony Brook roster for six seasons and was the team’s starting quarterback for three of them. He earned the job with high hopes as fans wished to see an improvement over his predecessor. While Fields ends his collegiate career with 4,846 passing yards, the third-most in Stony Brook’s Division I history, he never led the Seawolves to a playoff berth despite the team making the postseason in both of the two years prior to him starting.
Fields will be remembered for his historic 2019 season, but aside from this past season, there is not much else to review. Fields redshirted as a freshman in 2016 before sitting behind Joe Carbone for two seasons. Between 2017 and 2018, Fields attempted only 36 pass attempts and rushed for 85 yards in relief of Carbone.
Carbone departed following the 2018 season, and after a preseason competition with Jack Cassidy, Fields was named the starting quarterback prior to the 2019 season.
The Seawolves got out to a 4-1 start and the offense looked unstoppable, as it averaged 34.3 points per win. Fields played well during this stretch but was helped out by a defense that allowed only 10 points in each of the Seawolves’ first three wins. But, Fields had his signature moment in the fourth win on the road against Rhode Island with a game-winning 50-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-6 with 22 seconds remaining.
Following that incredible play, the Seawolves’ next and final win of the season came three games later, when Fields led a 16-point fourth quarter comeback at Villanova. Fields threw for 320 yards and a touchdown, added two touchdowns on the ground, and led a 59-yard drive in under 20 seconds to set the Seawolves up for a game-winning field goal.
The Seawolves lost their final four games in which the offense averaged only 15 points per game. While Fields was not terrible, his play noticeably declined as he threw seven interceptions to six touchdowns, completed more than 50% of his passes in only one game and failed to record a rushing touchdown in that stretch.
Despite the poor finish, Fields’ 2,809 total yards are the most in a single season in Stony Brook history, while his 2,471 passing yards rank second all-time.
Fields’ chance to build on his historic season was delayed and eventually cut short by COVID-19, as the Seawolves only played four games in this past spring’s season. It is tough to judge a player on four games in an unprecedented season, especially considering Fields was limited by a few injuries for the last three games, but his senior campaign should not be completely ignored.
In the spring, Fields completed 50.6% of his passes and averaged only 100 passing yards per game with four total touchdowns and one interception. Again, Fields faced a lot of adversity in the spring, but it’s at least worth noting how drastically his play had declined from the 2019 season, which contributed to the Seawolves’ 1-3 campaign.
Heading into his final season this fall, Fields placed an emphasis on improving his accuracy as a passer. While he still was not a great pocket passer, Fields completed 54.6% of his passes in the fall, the highest single-season completion percentage of his career.
Despite improving his accuracy, Fields became less effective both in the air and on the ground, aside from his surge in rushing touchdowns. Fields’ average total yards per game plummeted from 216.1 in 2019 to 168.3 in 2021.
The offense suffered as a result, averaging only 16.7 points during the Seawolves’ 1-5 start to the season. As the defense created more turnovers and gave the offense better field position, the Seawolves enjoyed more success in their last five games to raise their season average to 21.2 points per game.
While Fields made plenty of great plays in 2021, he did not have the spectacular comeback moments he produced in 2019. In all five of Stony Brook’s wins this season, the Seawolves led the entire second half. Fields deserves credit for leading the Seawolves to early leads and doing his part to preserve those leads, but it just seemed like some of the magic from his junior season was gone.
In the season opener against New Hampshire, Fields brought the Seawolves back from being down 27-0 in the second half but came up 19 yards short of completing the comeback.
Fields scored a game-tying rushing touchdown from eight yards out in the fourth quarter against Rhode Island to ultimately send the game to overtime, where Stony Brook’s one chance to answer fell two yards short.
Against Towson, Fields drove 60 yards to the Tigers’ 22-yard line with a chance to send the game to overtime with a touchdown, but the comeback attempt once again failed.
These losses were not all Fields’ fault, but these were the types of moments that Stony Brook fans became accustomed to seeing their quarterback rise to the occasion and deliver an incredible performance.
Despite his individual accolades, Fields never had a winning season and finished his career with an 11-16 record as a starting quarterback. Each of his teams had its fair share of flaws, but as the quarterback, Fields bears a substantial amount of responsibility for the Seawolves’ shortcomings in recent years. Fields showcased his incredible talents throughout his time at Stony Brook, but he could not quite put it all together to bring the Seawolves back to the playoffs.