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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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Seawolves look to get back on track against James Madison

13.11.09_football_yoonseonam1
The Seawolves will need to tweak their game against James Madison in order to break their three-game losing streak. (YOON SEO NAM / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook football has hit a rough patch in their season, as it seems that all the injuries from past year have finally started to catch up.

Dropping three games in a row, albeit against solid conference foes, the Seawolves have lost a couple of nail biters in the last two weeks against Maine and Richmond. Losing those contests by a combined 13 points, the team is not far off, but just needs a little push over the hump to end their longest losing streak of the season.

Somewhat similar to last week’s game against Richmond, James Madison is an offensive juggernaut. The biggest problem for the Seawolves is that in comparison, James Madison is much more well rounded on the offensive side of the ball. Richmond was led by one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, using short routes to pick apart the Stony Brook secondary. James Madison has a multi-pronged attack, with multiple capable running backs, much like Stony Brook and a tamer yet competent aerial game.

Michael Birdsong, James Madison’s sophomore quarterback has had a solid year for the Dukes, completing over 60 percent of his passes while averaging well over 200 yards a game. The biggest factor here is that Birdsong is still young, prone to making quick, possibly even irrational decisions with the football, which has shown with 11 interceptions on the year. If Winston Longdon and Stony Brook’s secondary can keep tight, press coverage, they may have a chance to cause turnovers, with the young quarterback trying to squeeze the ball into small spaces. Having about a million receivers that have contributed this season, James Madison’s young quarterback faces more difficulty, as it is harder to know exactly where a receiver will be when you have to deal with so many of them and familiarize yourself with their route running. Seven receivers have had at least 10 catches for JMU, with four snagging at least four touchdowns.

James Madison’s running game will pose the real threat for Stony Brook this Saturday, as two running backs and Birdsong himself have combined to do a lot of damage for the Dukes. Dae’Quan Scott has had a terrific year, already blowing by the thousand yard mark for the year with his 4.5 yards per rush average. With him, backup freshman running back Khalid Abdullah and Birdsong’s mobility in the pocket, rushing for over 300 yards on the year, James Madison has a lot to confront the Seawolves with.

The Dukes come out of the gate extremely quickly, more than doubling their opponent’s score in the first quarter, and Stony Brook needs to once again counter this with time of possession. When Stony Brook pounds James Kenner over and over again, good things tend to happen. When they get down early and start having to pass more and more early on, they give the ball away on downs or on turnovers, and make life extremely difficult for themselves. Look for Stony Brook to bounce back in this televised game, keeping the young Dukes quarterback under control, and giving the ever-improving Kenner more control over the game. In the end, Stony Brook should be able to deal with the running attack enough to force mistakes, taking this game.

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