The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

46° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Misery ends for Stony Brook football in fitting fashion

Quarterback Daron Bryden (background) throws a pass to wide receiver Jayce Freeman (foreground) against Albany on Saturday, Nov. 11. Bryden had the most efficient game of his career in the season finale. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

It is finally official: 2023 was the worst year in Stony Brook football history.

In their season finale, the Seawolves (0-10, 0-8 CAA) were blown out in the Battle for the Golden Apple by the No. 18/25 Albany Great Danes (8-3, 6-1 CAA) 38-20 on Saturday. In an almost-empty Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook re-broke its single-season loss record that it set last year.

The loss guaranteed two firsts for the program: its first-ever double-digit loss season and winless year in school history. It also ensured the team’s second consecutive last-place finish in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA).

Quarterback Casey Case was inactive with an injury he suffered two weeks ago at Villanova, leaving backup quarterback Daron Bryden to handle duties for the afternoon. Bryden played well, completing 21 of his 31 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. However, his defense and run game gave him no chance to lead the team to victory.

After the Seawolves went three and out on the opening possession of the game, their defense did the job for them. On the third play of Albany’s opening drive, outside linebacker Clarens Legagneur picked off quarterback Reese Poffenbarger and took it 49 yards to the end zone for a pick six. After that, Poffenbarger and company carved through Stony Brook’s defense like a hot knife through butter.

The Great Danes scored on their next four possessions, finding the end zone three times. Bryden led his team inside the 10-yard line twice during the stretch, but the offense stalled both times and settled for field goals.

Albany’s offense put up 219 yards and 24 points in the first half, handing the Seawolves an 11-point deficit by halftime. Cornerback Quenton Porter said that the Great Danes’ skill group made them a mismatch for Stony Brook’s defense.

“They’ve got good athletes, basically everywhere within their offense,” Porter said in a postgame press conference. “They come with a sound scheme [and] they make adjustments well.”

The Seawolves were still in it after Albany kicker John Opalko pushed a 26-yard field goal wide to the left on the opening possession of the second half. However, they went three and out on offense and Poffenbarger marched his team right back down the field to put the game out of reach. On third down and 11, Poffenbarger escaped pressure to his right and lofted up a 28-yard touchdown in the back-right corner of the end zone to a completely uncovered wide receiver Levi Wentz, making it 31-13.

Later in the fourth quarter, running backs Griffin Woodell and Faysal Aden combined to rush for 70 yards on one drive, setting the Great Danes up inside the red zone. Poffenbarger fired a dime into the back-left corner to wide receiver Julian Hicks, who held on for a 13-yard touchdown to put the final nail in the coffin.

Later in garbage time, Bryden fired a deep ball into the end zone that wide receiver Anthony Johnson corralled through contact with one hand for a 22-yard score.

Bryden’s 67.7% completion percentage was a career-high for any game that he has started. He finished the 2023 season with a 66.1% completion rate and no interceptions after completing 49.1% of his passes and throwing eight picks last year.

Bryden attributed his solid performances throughout the year to his maturation and experience gained from last year.

“When COVID hit, I didn’t play football since junior year of high school, so last year was my first time playing in a while,” Bryden said. “So [I] was obviously getting my feet wet and adjusting to the speed of the game. I think this year, I was able to really relax and just do what I do.”

As has been the case all year, Stony Brook could not move the ball or get stops on defense. Albany outgained the Seawolves 430-267 while rushing for 183 yards. Poffenbarger went 20-for-28 passing with 247 yards, four touchdowns and the lone interception. Woodell rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The Great Danes converted 10 of their 13 third downs, good for a 76.9% rate.

Head coach Chuck Priore took the fall for the winless season and commended his players and staff for their effort given.

“We can throw these 10 losses against me, but these kids in this program and these coaches worked their asses off,” Priore said. “[We were] short of people, [but] guys [were] doing their job, and that’s where it stands and that’s my statement.”

Stony Brook’s bye week was scheduled for next week, giving it a headstart on its offseason. All the team can do now is hope its best players stay as the program continues to rebuild. Perhaps an even bigger reconstruction is coming.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (1)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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

  • F

    FRNov 12, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    Sorry to say but a total coaching housecleaning is needed. Short on people? Do you see all the players who never play? Give the guys who stand around all game a chance. Do you think they are going to lose the game? We have wasted talent not playing or not having the coaching to play as a team. This has been at least the last 4 years. Who will want to come to play for Stony Brook any longer? How many players are looking to transfer? Just saying.