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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Football preview: Stony Brook will face biggest challenge yet in No. 4 Oregon

The Seawolves make a tackle against the New Hampshire Wildcats on Sept. 2. Stony Brook will be facing one of the toughest opponents, the Oregon Ducks, on Sept. 18. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Coming off of their dominant first win of the season, the Seawolves will travel over 2,500 miles to play the No. 4-ranked Oregon Ducks at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Autzen Stadium. Oregon will pay Stony Brook $625,000 for the matchup.

As impressive as Stony Brook was in its 24-3 defeat of the Colgate Raiders, the story of the weekend was Oregon’s 35-28 road upset of then No. 3-ranked Ohio State, marking the Buckeyes’ first regular season loss since October 2018. Despite varying levels of competition, both Stony Brook and Oregon rode great run games to victory.

For the Seawolves, redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton led the way with 134 yards and a touchdown, while redshirt senior Seba Nekhet added 80 yards on 15 carries.

Led by junior running back C.J. Verdell, Oregon rushed for 269 yards and averaged a robust 7.1 yards per carry. Verdell amassed 161 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, adding three catches for 34 yards and another score.

“It’s going to be fun, I honestly can’t wait,” Lawton said about the matchup. “I’ve been trying to prepare myself to play at that level for a long time.”

Stony Brook will likely need to rely more heavily on the passing game to keep up with Oregon’s high-powered offense, as graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields attempted only 11 passes against Colgate.

The Seawolves have struggled against FBS opponents, going 1-10 with their only win coming against Army in 2012. Stony Brook’s 28-17 loss to Syracuse in 2012 marks its only matchup against a Power Five team, with Oregon lining up to be the second.

The back-to-back reigning Pac-12 champions present not only Stony Brook’s highest level of competition this season, but in program history. The Seawolves’ only other nationally ranked opponent was No. 19 South Florida in 2017 and although Stony Brook led 10-7 at halftime, USF ultimately won 31-17.

While the Seawolves are outmatched on both sides of the ball, the Ducks are dealing with injuries to a few key players. True freshman Keith Brown will be starting at inside linebacker due to two injuries at the position, while sophomore defensive end and Oregon’s 2020 sack leader Kayvon Thibodeaux’s status is unclear after missing last weekend with a sprained ankle.

Despite Oregon’s injuries, the Ducks open as 42-point favorites against the Seawolves. Aware of the lopsided matchup, head coach Chuck Priore sees this Saturday as an opportunity for the Seawolves to sharpen their play against a great opponent.

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids to play in that venue and certainly to play against that type of team,” Priore said in a press conference. “We’ll have our hands full, but we’re going to enjoy the hell out of it and we’re going to compete to the best of our ability.”

Anything can happen any given Saturday, especially if the Ducks haven’t moved on from their massive win last weekend and completely overlook the Seawolves. But if Stony Brook’s last game against an FBS team — a 62-7 loss to Utah State in 2019, led by future first-round quarterback Jordan Love — is any indicator, the Seawolves will likely be on the wrong end of another blowout in Oregon.

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