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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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Seawolves Face 17th ranked UMass

On Saturday, the Stony Brook football team will travel nearly 120 miles to Amherst, Massachusetts, to pay the University of Massachusetts’ Minutemen (2-1) a visit. The Seawolves (1-2) are fresh off of a win last weekend, when they defeated Brown University at home in a 21-20 comeback win. But that was Brown. After facing Elon and Liberty last season, UMass is the first ranked opponent Stony Brook is facing this year.

‘It’s just another game,’ said 21 year-old junior wide receiver Donald Porter. ‘Ranked or not, they’re human and they can be beat, and we have the talent to do it,’ he added. Porter’s crunch time catch propelled the Seawolves to victory on Saturday, but Stony Brook might want to get on the board earlier against the tough Minutemen defense.

UMass’s defensive attack has been impressively shutting down offenses this season. In fact, the defense has shut out opponents in 9 of the 12 quarters it has played this year. Also, the UMass defense has not allowed a point in the first or fourth quarter of each of those games. Opponents haven’t been able to score in the fourth against the Minutemen for the past 5 games, dating back to last season.

Needless to say, the Seawolves will have to work that much harder to put points on the board. The running back duo of 20 year-old sophomore Edwin Gowins (Bellport, NY) and 21 year-old senior Conte Cuttino (Uniondale, NY) will have to establish the Seawolves’ running game early. Also, as few mistakes as possible on the offensive end will be crucial in pulling out the win. The Seawolves have fumbled the ball 8 times in 3 games, but have managed to recover it 6 of those times. The Minutemen defense has forced 9 turnovers in the past 3 games, good for 7th place in NCAA rankings. The Seawolves’ offense will have to protect the ball and get within striking distance of the end zone, where they are almost guaranteed to score. They are a perfect 5 of 5 in the red zone so far this year, using a variety of ways to score from close.

Stony Brook has its work cut out on the defensive end too. The Minutemen have outscored their opponents 91 to 38 so far this season. Tailback Tony Nelson leads UMass with 342 net rushing yards, and the UMass offense has scored a touchdown 7 of the 11 times that it has been in the red zone.

The two teams have met once before, on September 23, 2006. The Minutemen rolled past the Seawolves with a 48-7 final score, even recording the third longest play in school history with an 89-yard touchdown pass. But Saturday’s game promises to be more competitive. Both teams are trying to extend short winning streaks and build an early momentum. The game will be the difference between a record of 2-2 or 1-3 for the Seawolves, and may be the first pivotal point of this young season. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m.

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