The Stony Brook football team’s defense in a huddle against Rhode Island on Sept. 1. The defense will look to lead a bounce-back performance against William & Mary on Saturday after being blown out last week at Richmond. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Following a 51-7 thrashing against No. 22/24 Richmond, the Stony Brook football team is hoping to bounce back and pick up its first win of the 2022 season.

This Saturday, the Seawolves (0-3, 0-2 CAA) return home to take on No. 18/21 William & Mary at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Tribe are currently 3-1 overall but 0-1 in the CAA. They are coming off of a 35-31 defeat at the hands of the Elon Phoenix that saw them blow a 28-10 halftime lead.

For Stony Brook to pull off the upset, the offense is going to have to do a complete reversal from what it has done thus far. The Seawolves’ offense at the moment finds itself ranked last in the conference in almost every major offensive category, including total offense, yards per game and total touchdowns.

One way they could help themselves improve overall is by playing better situationally. Currently, the team is converting on just 26.2% of its third down opportunities, which has directly affected its ability to stay on the field. The team is picking up only 13.3 first downs per game, allowing other teams to control the time of possession.

Advertisement

If the Seawolves wish to stand a chance, they are going to have to put together a complete game that sees the team compete past the first quarter. Following the first quarter, Stony Brook has been outscored by opponents by a score of 85-10 this season.   

Stony Brook has struggled to find any success in the passing game regardless of who is under center. For the third consecutive game, the Seawolves threw multiple interceptions, bringing their season total to seven. They have also thrown a pick-six in all three games. It’s unclear which quarterback gets the start, as Daron Bryden, Joshua Zamot and Drew Guttieri all received playing time and struggled last week.

Injuries continue to play a role in the offensive struggles. The run game, which was poised to play a major role in the offense, has continued to be decimated by injury. Already down their top three backs, the Seawolves saw running backs Jayden Cook and Jadon Turner both leave the Richmond game with an injury and not return. The Seawolves are holding out hope that some of their running backs return this week. If not, it will be Ross Tallarico and Makhai Jinks at running back for Stony Brook.

“I think possibly as of now we’re going along with our business,” head coach Chuck Priore said during the weekly CAA coaches press conference. “We’ll see who is ready for Saturday.”

Advertisement

The Stony Brook defense is also looking to bounce back after surrendering 51 points. The pass defense caught the brunt of the beating, as they were picked apart last week by Richmond quarterback Reece Udinski. Udinski’s performance saw him named both CAA and FCS Offensive Player of the Week.

However, the run defense was still able to force seven punts and held Richmond to 1.8 yards per rush. Their performance can also be attributed to poor field position given to them by the offense. 

Limiting yards per carry will be crucial for the Seawolves, as the Tribe currently boasts the best rushing offense in the CAA, averaging 253 rushing yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry. William & Mary will be the best offense the Seawolves have faced so far, ranking second-best in total offense. Despite being a predominantly heavy run team, the Tribe are still to be respected in the passing game with the second highest pass efficiency rate in the CAA. 

On the defensive side of the ball, William & Mary is led by playmakers such as outside linebacker John Pius and cornerback Jalen Jones. Pius leads the conference in both sacks with seven and tackles for loss with 12. Jones leads the conference in interceptions with three and passes defended with five. Containing these two will be paramount if the Seawolves wish to pull off the upset. 

The two teams last met in 2017, resulting in a 21-18 Stony Brook victory. Stony Brook is 1-3 all-time against William & Mary. 

Advertisement

An upset victory over the Tribe could help turn the tide of the Seawolves’ season. Otherwise, things will continue to look bleak for Stony Brook as several ranked opponents still remain on the schedule in the weeks ahead. 

 

     

 

      

 

  

 

 

Avatar

Matt Howlin is an assistant sports editor of The Statesman. He is a junior journalism major at Stony Brook University. He previously served as the campus news editor for The Compass Newspaper at Suffolk County Community College. Following graduation, Matt plans to follow his dream of becoming a sports journalist. He hails from Coram, N.Y. and is an avid Yankees, Giants, Islanders and Lakers fan.

Tagged:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.