HERO Sports welcomes you to “Three-a-Days” where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs from June 17 to August 6. Then, we’ll preview all 13 conferences from August 12-15. Today, we present … Stony Brook.
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STONY BROOK (7-5 IN 2018)
CAA (SB was T3rd in 2018)
COACH: Chuck Priore – At School: 14th year (84-66 record) Overall: 20th year (123-75)
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2018 (First-round loss to SEMO)
2018 OFFENSE: 26.8 ppg. (67th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 20.3 ppg. (12th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Nov. 23 vs. Albany: Last year, Albany got its lone CAA win by beating Stony Brook in one of the FCS’ biggest upsets of the year. The Empire Clash returns to Long Island in 2019 and you know the Seawolves want revenge, as well as The Golden Apple Trophy back on their campus. Look for this to also be critical in possibly giving SB its third consecutive winning season.
SUM IT UP: Stony Brook is a stout program, having won 17 games the past two seasons and going to the FCS Playoffs both years. Even when the Seawolves are stuck around .500, like from 2013-16 when they won five games each season, they’re still a tremendously tough “out” in CAA play. Because of their coaching, the intestinal fortitude of a typical Stony Brook player and this defense … you can’t go into a game against Stony Brook expecting an easy win.
With that being said, this year’s offense is going to need to find a new identity — especially skill-wise. The program has been known for years as a punch-you-in-the-mouth, run-first offense. Now, its one-two punch (Jordan Gowins and Donald Liotine) in the run game is gone and takes its 2,000+ rushing yards from last year with it. The quarterback is gone and the top four receivers are gone … so new faces will need to emerge. Quarterback Tyquell Fields saw playing time last year, and Jack Cassidy had a solid spring also. Whoever emerges there will have three experienced linemen in front of them led by iron-man Mason Zimmerman (leads team in career starts with 31).
The good news for the young offense? It has this defense. The Stony Brook ‘D’ was good for 12th in the nation last year in scoring defense, and it may be even better than that this season as long as the offense finds itself early on. Six returners started every single game on defense last year, and two more started eight or more. That’s really good news for a unit that strangled opponents in the red zone (4th in the FCS) and on third down (7th in the FCS) — two critical areas of measuring a defense. There’s no reason to believe that will change. This group seems to feed off of itself and will give opposing offenses fits. Only twice last year (Towson and Air Force) did the defense really lose its usual form.
OUR TAKE: Stony Brook is intriguing. There’s no reason the offense couldn’t find itself early and this becomes a program vying for a third straight postseason berth. It has happened before in the FCS. In fact, there’s a very good chance the Seawolves could emerge from nonconference play in September at 3-1 with a winnable CAA opener against Rhode Island up next. That would have SB heading into the James Madison game 4-1 and turning everybody’s heads. It’s a distinct possibility. The truth is, Stony Brook never has a horrendous season. In a brutal CAA this year, we see this being around a .500 type of year for the Seawolves. But we also think they’ll knock somebody out of playoff contention along the way — mainly because of their suffocating defense. Mark that down as a prediction.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./DB Gavin Heslop (59 tackles, 4 TFLs, 25 career starts – Pro Prospect)
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./DL Sam Kamara (2nd Team All CAA – 42 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 9 sacks, 28 career starts); Sr./RS-WR Jean Constant (1st Team All NEC at Bryant last year); Jr./DB T.J. Morrison (42 tackles, 7 PBU); Soph./OL Kyle Nunez (returning starter); Jr./DB Augie Contressa (73 tackles, 10 TFLs); Soph./DL Casey Williams (42 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 6 sacks, 3 blocked kicks); Sr./RG Mason Zimmerman (31 career starts); Sr./FS Synceir Malone (53 tackles, 5 TFLs, 10 PBU – 34 career games played); Sr./OL Joe Detrorie (returning starter).
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./DL Keith Winfrey (Top 300 FCS signee in 2019 HERO Sports Recruiting rankings – reported a Boston College offer)
THE QUOTE: “Our on-the-field goals as a program are to continue to be an elite CAA team as well as a national power. I believe this group of transfers certainly provide us with the depth and experience necessary to compete at the highest level. We were excited about the 2019 season before these young men joined our team, so there is added reason for great optimism and excitement as we come together over the summer months.” — coach Chuck Priore said announcing seven key transfers this summer
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year’s Stony Brook Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of CAA
Albany | Delaware | Elon | James Madison
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