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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Football Falls in Final Game

    Stony Brook Football went down to Elon, NC to play the #24-ranked Elon Phoenix, and fell 38-23. The team finishes with a 6-5 record, with 4 of the losses coming to nationally-ranked teams. The game also marked the end of the Josh Dudash era, with the starting quarterback of the past three years throwing for 229 yards in his final game.

    Brandon Mason once again had to carry the weight on offense for SB, with Conte Cuttino out of action as a result of last week’s leg injury.

    The first quarter was disastrous for SB. On their first possession of the game, Elon drove down the field to score a touchdown. Three plays into the following drive, Dudash’s pass was intercepted, and taken to the end zone for another touchdown.

    SB fought back with a run by Brandon Mason, a 38-yard kickoff return by freshman Donald Porter and a 38-yard pass from Dudash to Melaquan Saffold. However, the following Elon drive saw another push down the field to put the Phoenix up 21-7 by the end of the quarter.

    In the second, SB was able to hold their own. Their first drive reached the Elon seven-yard-line before having to settle for a Luke Gaddis field goal. On SB’s next drive, Dudash was intercepted again, giving Elon the ball at the SB 19. The ensuing Elon drive went backwards, following a sack, and they had to take a field goal.

    The end of the half was wild, with SB starting a drive at their own 29. They pushed down the field with a big run from Mason, and big catches by Donald Lee and Dwayne Eley. They reached the Elon 1, and the drive stalled. They went to Mason three times to try and punch the ball across the goal line, with no success.

    On fourth-down, they didn’t try a field goal, instead going to the air. The pass from Dudash to senior TE Kevin Halonski was incomplete. Elon’s drive didn’t last long, as the 6-yard rush to open the drive was fumbled, and picked up by Greg Weeks, giving SB another chance, only six yards from the end zone. Mason ran two yards, inching closer to the score.

    On the next play, Dudash fumbled the ball, and it was picked up by Elon. With only 24 seconds left in the half, Elon took no chances, taking a knee to end a chaotic quarter up 24-10.

    Elon’s drive to open the third quarter featured a fumble at midfield, which they picked up. They then punted, giving SB the ball at their own 20. Once again, they took the ball into the red zone, but couldn’t take it all the way. Their drive stalled at the 11, and they had to take another field goal.

    Late in the quarter, Elon would pull away, picking up a touchdown on five quick plays. A 34-yard return of the kickoff by Porter would give them the ball at their own 43. With the game now in the fourth quarter, SB took some chances, going for fourth-down conversions.

    On a fourth-and-six on Elon’s 42, Dudash’s was intercepted at the 12. However, pass interference was called, and instead, the Seawolves kept the ball and moved to the 27. The drive got only a few yards further, and Gaddis kicked a third field goal to make it 31-16.

    SB started to pick up momentum. On the following drive, junior Adam Soivilien intercepted a pass, and ran it back to the Elon 30. This time, they were able to find the end zone, on a pass from running back Steve Austin to Lynell Suggs, making it a one-possession game with just over seven minutes to play. However, the defense was unable to make the critical stop, with Elon scoring a touchdown on a smooth drive. SB’s final drive went nowhere, and Elon ran the clock out.

    SB’s offense had controlled the ball almost 10 minutes longer than Elon’s, but they were held to 319 yards to their 358. They committed three turnovers, with two being converted for 10 points, and the other one happening only a few yards from the end zone. Their defense was unable to take advantage of Elon’s mistakes, picking up only two of five fumbles, in addition to their interception. They also had three sacks. Mason ran for 109 yards, with most of the SB offense coming from the air. Three SB receivers had at least 50 yards, but only one TD.

    This marks the end of SB’s independent campaign. Next year, they will join the Big South Conference, making long trips such as the one to North Carolina a common occurrence. Over the coming spring and summer, the picture of the 2008 Seawolves football team will become clearer, with many questions to be answered, such as who will succeed Josh Dudash. They’ll have other key replacements to make, as WR J.J. Cox, TE Kevin Halonski, and LB Milo Otis are among the players who are leaving big shoes to fill.

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