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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 travels to Maine Saturday looking to correct recent woes

With each passing week, the fall foliage has reddened, the chilly nights have lengthened and the Stony Brook Football team’s chances to make the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs have faded.

As Stony Brook (2-3, 1-3 CAA) travels northward for a 12:30 p.m. game against Maine (2-4, 2-1) this Saturday, the team seeks to buck the recent trend and snap its three-game losing streak.

Based on recent history, the Seawolves will likely need to win the rest of their games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Last season, four teams in the Colonial Athletic Association made the FCS playoffs—New Hampshire, Villanova, Richmond and James Madison—each team losing three or fewer conference games. Should Stony Brook lose another CAA game, it will be its fourth loss of the season, effectively eliminating its playoff dreams.

Like the Seawolves, the Black Bears are also coming off of a disappointing Homecoming loss. Maine lost to Yale, 21-10 last Saturday in a non-conference game.

“It looks like a physical defensive team,” Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore said of Maine in a Monday teleconference. “They’ll come at you with the blitz when they need to, and they’ll play man-to-man when they need to.”

Maine’s defensive strength shows in the numbers. The Black Bears are 24th in the FCS in rushing yards allowed per game (124.7) and lead the CAA with 7.2 tackles for a loss per game.

The strong Maine defense signals bad news for a Stony Brook offense that struggled for most of its loss against Towson on Saturday. The Seawolves converted just four of 16 third down opportunities, well below their season average.

Priore said the root of the third down ineptitude comes from poor play on first down.

“Our efficiency on first down was the worst it has been in three years,” Priore said. “That inefficiency on first down created a ton of second-and-longs, which created a ton of third-and-longs.”

While most of the Stony Brook offense has played poorly, sophomore wide receiver Ray Bolden has become a one-man wrecking crew for the Seawolves, despite playing through a nagging shoulder injury. Bolden caught both of Stony Brook’s touchdowns against Towson and gained 77 yards.

“I think what he’s proven to me is that on any given play,” Priore said, “he can be the difference.”

Bolden has been a difference-maker in the Seawolves’ passing game. In five games this season, Bolden has 46.4 percent of the team’s receptions, 49.3 percent of its receiving yards and 80 percent of its receiving touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Daniel Collins has been under-center for Maine this season and has disappointed in six games of action. Collins has thrown for two touchdowns and seven interceptions, completing only 49.7 percent of his pass attempts.

The ground game has performed better for the Black Bears, who are led by sophomore running back Nigel Beckford. Beckford has scored four touchdowns, including one in each of his last two games. The Connecticut native has a team-high 343 rushing yards this season.

For Stony Brook, Saturday’s game presents a final opportunity to get off the schneid, end its losing streak and turn its season around for a potential postseason run. The stakes are high and at this point, any loss will most likely kiss its playoff hopes goodbye.

“[The] key thing is to go in there, be excited about playing the game,” Priore said. “Be focused on the fundamentals and work hard throughout the game to be able to finish.”

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