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Stony Brook Football blows out CCSU 38-9 in home opener

No. 21, above, in the immediate aftermath of scoring a touchdown against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN
Stacey Bedell (No. 21, above) in the immediate aftermath of scoring one of his three touchdowns against CCSU on Saturday. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN

While heavy showers drenched Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Central Connecticut failed to rain on Stony Brook’s home-opener parade. The Seawolves rushed for 349 yards and forced two CCSU turnovers in a 38-9 rout that gave SBU its first win of the season.

“This was a very important game for us as a program to get back to being a dominating football team, I don’t care who we were playing tonight,” SBU head coach Chuck Priore said. “Get back to being a dominating football team. Control the line of scrimmage, control the tempo of the game and having the game come to us. I was really excited to see that.”

Stacey Bedell racked up 133 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, but it was a handful of unfamiliar faces that helped SBU compile its largest yards output since Nov. 16, 2013. Conor Bednarski opened the game under center for Stony Brook, but quickly began surrendering drives to redshirt freshman Joe Carbone. Bednarski was nursing a sore shoulder according to Priore, and after coming on and off the field gave up quarterbacking duties entirely to Carbone for the second half. Carbone certainly did not look like a back-up, completing 10-16 passes for 109 yards and recording two rushing touchdowns, one on a fake hand-off at the goal line and another a scramble into the end zone.

“Conor’s shoulder from his offseason surgery was a little sore coming out of last week’s game. Bothered him during the week so we really didn’t want to risk him, so our plan coming into the game was to play Joe more,” Priore said. “No quarterback controversy. We got two good quarterbacks, I like that.”

Also stepping up was freshman halfback Isaiah White, who amounted 103 yards on 17 carries with a mix of speed and power.

“Isaiah played a great game,” Bedell said. “I’ve been on him all offseason when he was here. Trying to help him out the best way I can. He came out and played.”

The contest was not a blowout from the get-go, with an ominous start for SBU, sending the opening kickoff out of bounds and allowing a touchdown four plays in. CCSU’s Jacob Dolegala–who finished 6-20 with a pick–had his pass bobbled by the intended receiver but somehow landed in the hands of Dan Hebert, who coasted to a 51-yard touchdown.

“When something like that happens, I call that a miracle play because it has to be right moment, right time. You tend to dwell on the play and then the coaches did a good job of snapping us out of that,” senior LB Julian Quintin said. “My coach likened it to you’re driving a car, you’re being safe and somebody runs into you – you can’t help it. You just have to know next play, next play, next play.”

After Bedell and company responded with a touchdown of their own to take a 7-6 advantage, SBU’s defense became a brick wall. Central Connecticut failed to record another first down until the final minute of the first half. The Seawolves defense came away with a pick over the middle, recovered a fumble in CCSU’s red zone and gave up just 55 yards in total following the initial drive.

“I don’t know if statistically we’ll ever match last year defensively, but we’re going to be a good defense,” Priore said. “We’ve got good personnel and we’ve got more depth than we had last year.”

The Seawolves rode Bedell, who abused the left side of the field on outside runs to tack on a field goal and touchdown heading into halftime up 17-6. Stony Brook then threw up another seven points on a 25-yard rush by Bedell and cruised to the finish line from there.

“I think they only ran 16 offensive plays in the first half so I think we had control of the game,” Priore said. “I really liked our intensity of how we played throughout the game.”

Stony Brook’s blocking was a major factor in the rushing game’s success.

“The offensive line did a great job up front. We’ve been working hard all season, they’ve been practicing hard,” Bedell said, “They did step-by-step everything they were supposed to do and it opened up holes for me.”

The offensive line did a solid job giving its quarterbacks time to find receivers, with zero sacks allowed on the night. A popular target was sophomore wide receiver Ray Bolden, who ran streak routes down the sideline for the majority of the game. He finished with 61 yards.

The Seawolves, now 1-0 on the season following the mid-game cancellation at Toledo last week, take on New Hampshire next in a home game on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m..

“The game being cut short last week just made us more hungry to come out here and play this game,” Bedell said. Everybody was fueled up, ready to go. I feel like we lived up to the test, everybody played well and we’ll get ready for next week.”

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