A 15-day rest period was not enough time to prepare for what came the Seawolves’ way on Saturday.
The Stony Brook football team (0-2, 0-1 CAA) lost its first road game of the year 20-3 at the UMass Minutemen. Coming off of their bye week, the Seawolves were looking to bounce back from their 35-14 defeat at the hands of No. 22 Rhode Island, but instead were handed a second straight loss.
It was a disastrous day for the offense as a whole. The unit only amassed 333 scrimmage yards. Star running back Ty Son Lawton left the game with an injury, and the team failed to find the endzone.
Quarterback Daron Bryden made his first career start and struggled, only completing 15 of his 31 passes for 186 yards. Bryden was picked off twice, including a 94-yard pick six by cornerback Jordan Mahoney in the second quarter to put UMass up 14-0.
Quarterback Josh Zamot played for most of the second quarter and did not do much for the passing game either, as he completed just 1-of-3 passes for 20 yards.
Lawton was injured on the final play of the first half when he returned a missed 55-yard field goal attempt by UMass kicker Cameron Carson. With Lawton on the sidelines and running backs Roland Dempster and Seba Nekhet still hurt, the running game could not get it going either.
Even when Lawton was on the field, the team was unable to generate any sort of ground attack. Lawton had only six carries for eight yards before his injury. The Seawolves finished with 127 rushing yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry as a team, but those numbers are skewed by a lateral that picked up an extra 21 yards for the team.
“We got some things accomplished offensively, but not having Ty Lawton in the second half certainly hurt us a little bit,” head coach Chuck Priore said in a postgame interview with The Statesman.
One bright spot for the offense was running back Jayden Cook, who led the way with 14 carries for 73 yards. Cook also caught five passes for 30 yards, giving him a total of 103 scrimmage yards on 19 touches.
Just like last time, it was the defense that kept the Seawolves in the game. The defense only allowed 13 points and 264 yards from scrimmage. The pass defense held UMass to just 105 yards and also forced a turnover when cornerback Quenton Porter intercepted quarterback Gino Campiotti. On the ground, the Seawolves held UMass to an average of just 3.7 yards per carry, but the Minutemen still compiled 159 rushing yards.
Outside linebacker Carthell Flowers-Lloyd was front and center for the Seawolves again. Flowers-Lloyd racked up seven total tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, giving himself 5.5 through just two games this year. He played every snap on Saturday because his top two backups were both inactive, but showed no signs of fatigue.
“He had a day,” Priore said. “He made some stops in the backfield and he was active all over the field.”
It was the situational aspect of the game that killed the Seawolves, especially on offense. Stony Brook converted just two of their 14 third down opportunities and only one of their two fourth down chances. They also wasted their two redzone possessions, settling for a field goal on one and throwing the aforementioned pick six on the other.
Stony Brook held UMass to just 5-for-14 on third down, but the Minutemen converted both fourth down chances and scored in both of their redzone trips.
Despite the loss, Priore said he was proud of the team’s competitive effort against UMass.
“As I explained to them, the losing taste does not taste very well,” Priore said. “I’m proud of their efforts, but we’ve got to get better and we’ve got six days to do it.”
Now with three running backs on the shelf, two struggling quarterbacks and a defense that is being leaned on very heavily, things are not looking so promising for Stony Brook. The Seawolves will get the chance to right the ship on Saturday, Sept. 24, when they will travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders. Richmond is currently 2-1 after winning back-to-back games and received votes entering Week 3 after losing their spot in the national rankings.