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SBU falls to Villanova, 35-6, in CAA game

After losing to Stony Brook in the first round of the D-I Football Championship last fall, 20-10, the Wildcats got payback in their 2013 matchup, smacking SBU 35-6. [KENNETH HO/THE STATESMAN]
After losing to Stony Brook in the first round of the D-I Football Championship last fall, 20-10, the Wildcats got payback in their 2013 matchup, smacking SBU 35-6. [KENNETH HO/THE STATESMAN]
The Stony Brook football team suffered two major losses on Saturday. First, it was announced that the Seawolves will be without senior running back Marcus Coker for the rest of the 2013 season. Then, later in the day, the team was blown out by conference opponent Villanova, losing by the score of 35-6.

According to head coach Chuck Priore, Coker is suffering from an abdominal injury and will not see the field again this year. He is expected to receive a medical hardship, which would allow him to return next season.

This news comes in the same week that Stony Brook announced that senior cornerback Reuben Johnson will miss the rest of the season with an injured left knee.

On the field, the Wildcats did not show any sympathy for the Seawolves’ injury woes. They were able to keep the Stony Brook defense off balance with a variety of trick plays, two of which resulted in touchdowns.

Sophomore quarterback John Robertson had a big day for Villanova, running the ball 20 times, for 126 yards and a touchdown. He also threw for 140 yards and a touchdown.

On offense for Stony Brook, sophomore Jamie Williams received the start at running back in place of Coker. But, it was junior Jameel Poteat who got the majority of the carries out of the backfield. He ran for 40 yards on 9 carries in the game, averaging a more than respectable 4.4 yards per carry.

But, playing from behind for most of the last three quarters lead to the ball being in the hands of quarterback Lyle Negron for most of the contest.

Negron was once again strong running the ball, finishing with 56 rushing yards in the game. Passing the ball, the senior was 23-of-33, with a touchdown and an interception.

Negron was also once again effective in getting the ball into the hands of senior wideout Malcolm Eugene. Eugene was all over the field for Stony Brook in the game, doing everything he could to get his team back in the game, catching 12 passes for a career high 184 yards, and a touchdown.

Where the offense struggled was in converting third downs, going 4-of-14 on the day. They also turned the ball over three times in the game, two of which lead to Villanova touchdowns.

The Wildcats’ second quarter dominance turned out to be the difference in the game. Villanova first got on the board 39 seconds into the quarter on a trick play.

Robertson took the snap then pitched the ball to his right to sophomore quarterback Cody Pittman. Pittman, who had drawn the defense’s attention, then found a wide open Gary Underwood for a touchdown.

The Wildcats would then score again on a trick play later on in the quarter. With 8:55 remaining before the half and the ball just beyond midfield, Robertson received the snap, and the handed the ball off to Underwood. Underwood then pitched it to wide receiver Poppy Livers, who then gave the ball back to Robertson. Robertson then threw downfield to receiver Clay Horne for a 43 yard touchdown connection.

Villanova would then make it a 21-0 game with 2:46 left in the first half on a 2-yard touchdown run by Robertson. The Seawolves showed signs of life at the end of the half, with a 71-yard drive, but came away with no points after a missed 21-yard field goal by junior kicker Graham Ball.

The Wildcats then put the game out of reach with 9:01 left in the third quarter, when defensive back Joe Sarnese recovered a fumble, and ran it back 36 yards for a touchdown.

Stony Brook’s only score in the game would come in the fourth quarter, with 5:45 remaining, on a Negron 4-yard pass to Eugene. The play capped of an impressive 15-play, 72-yard drive.

With Saturday’s blowout win, Villanova was able to get payback for their playoff elimination by the hands of the Seawolves last season. Stony Brook defeated the Wildcats 20-10 in the first round of the Division I Football Championship last fall.

Now the Seawolves will try to rebound from not only a bad loss to a CAA opponent, but also from losing two of their most important players.

SBU was expecting big things from Coker this season, and for good reason. He has rushed for 1,211 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 15 career games with the team.

Johnson had also looked strong early on for Stony Brook, earning CAA Defensive Players of the Week honors for his efforts in the team’s opener at Rhode Island. He led the team with two-and-a-half tackles and two fumble recoveries in the game.

But the Seawolves are looking forward, as they will finally return home this weekend to play their home opener against Towson, on Saturday at 6pm. The Seawolves went 1-2 (1-1 in conference play) during a three-game road stretch to start the season.

“Injuries won’t define this team,” Priore said in a statement Saturday.

 

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