The Seawolves were handed their fourth straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) loss on November 2 by the #11-ranked Maine Black Bears, which ousted their playoff aspirations. Stony Brook came into Saturday’s game needing to win all of their four remaining games to make the playoffs, but a late rally by the Seawolves was not enough to help extend their season.
Led by junior running back James Kenner, who had 124 yards rushing and a touchdown, the Seawolves fought back from a 13-0 deficit to take a 14-13 lead. The Black Bears responded with a touchdown of their own to take back control of the game and solidify a 19-14 win.
When Stony Brook made the transition from the Big South Conference to the CAA, who would’ve guessed that the Seawolves would leave their winning ways behind?
Stony Brook is (1-4) in the CAA this season. This is a complete change of pace for the Seawolves, who have won outright or shared their conference championship over the last four seasons.
Those were the good ole’ days, when Stony Brook was clearly the best team in the Big South Conference and the Seawolves could turn to their all-time leading rusher, Miguel Maysonet, to hurdle defenders and carry their offense.
Maysonet isn’t walking into that locker room anymore, and now that Stony Brook is playing in what is considered the “SEC” of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), they need the next man up on offense to show up and have a Maysonet-type impact.
But who will it be? Senior running back Marcus Coker was poised to be that player.
Coming off a season where Coker was second for the Seawolves with 1,018 rushing yards to Maysonet himself, he was awarded multiple preseason honors and was meant to carry the rushing load left by Maysonet.
He averaged 96.5 yards rushing in the only two games he played this season, until an abdominal injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.
With Maysonet gone and Coker out, the offensive duties stood on the shoulders of senior quarterback Lyle Negron. But Negron has been plagued with a right shoulder injury for most of the season and has not been consistently effective.
The bright side for Stony Brook all season was their defense, which kept a lot of tough games close and had season highs in sacks in the Seawolves’ last two games. Defense wins championships but they need their offense to put points on the board.
In Stony Brook’s defense, all four CAA loses have come against teams ranked in the Top 25 in the FCS. But most of those games were winnable late in the game with the exception of the 35-6 loss at Villanova, and excuses are not something that you make if you’re trying to be a successful football team.
The season isn’t over yet, in the sense that the Seawolves still have three more games left on their schedule. But after clinching playoff berths in the last two seasons, anything less than the playoffs for a team that saw a record 11,224 crowds at homecoming is a failure.