By Robinson Rodriguez
Despite an 11-point halftime lead, the Stony Brook Seawolves football team lost a heartbreaker in their home opener against the Towson Tigers, 35-21 on Saturday.
“Everyone is tired, we put a great effort in and we wanted to win,” said Chuck Priore, Stony Brook’s head football coach. “[I] give them credit, they came back from a 11-point [deficit.] I thought they were a good team coming in, and I think they are a good team coming out.”
Towson running back Terrance West was certainly a key contributor for the Tigers’ comeback victory as he ran for a game high of 154 yards and one touchdown. Christian Ricard, junior defensive back, had high praise for West.
“He is a great running back,” Ricard said. “For the most part, it took two of us to take him down on every play.”
The Seawolves came out strong taking the lead on an eight minute drive, which was finished off by a 2-yard run by junior running back James Kenner.
The Seawolves ran the ball effectively on the drive, rushing for 54 yards.
“We wanted to keep their offense off the ball,” Priore said. “I think we set the tone. You put a plan together and you try and execute.”
On the next possession, Jawara Dudley, senior linebacker, picked off Tigers quarterback Peter Athens and returned the ball to the Towson 5-yard line. With the great field position, the Seawolves were able to quickly respond and took a 14-0 lead off of a 5-yard run by junior running back Jameel Poteat.
Towson began chopping off Stony Brook’s lead in the second quarter, scoring 10 unanswered points of their own. First off of a field goal by Towson kicker Drew Evangelista and then on a 58-yard drive capped off by West, who ran for 56-yards.
The Seawolves responded on the next possession with a 78-yard drive, capped off with senior quarterback Lyle Negron tossing a 4-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Malcolm Eugene. The Seawolves went into the half with a 21-10 lead.
What changed the momentum of the game was a muffed punt that went off of freshman wide receiver Nick Wagner early in the third quarter, after the Seawolves forced the Tigers to punt. The Tigers took advantage of the field position and were able to cut the lead down to 21-17 on a touchdown pass by Athens to wide receiver Spencer Wilkins.
“We put our defense in a tough situation because the defense had a heck of a game,” Poteat said. “When you put our defense in a tough situation like that, it’s hard. It changed the game, but you got to bounce back.”
The Tigers cut the lead down to 21-20 on a 51-yard field goal by kicker D.J. Soven early in the fourth quarter.
On their next possession, the Tigers had their first lead in the game after a 31-yard run by running back Darius Victor. The five minute drive left the Seawolves with a little more than two minutes to attempt to tie the game.
What proved the be the fatal blow for the Seawolves was a fumble by Negron with 42 seconds left to go in the game. Tigers cornerback Donnell Lewis recovered the ball and ran it in for the final score of the game and put the Tigers ahead 35-21.
“It will be a gutcheck to come back,” Priore said. “Fortunately we are playing at home [next week] and we will prepare really hard.”
The Seawolves record now drops to 1-3 (1-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) and the Towson Tigers improve to 5-0 (1-0 in the CAA).
The Seawolves will prepare for their homecoming game against the Bryant Bulldogs (3-1).
Fortunately for the Seawolves, they are 7-0 under Priore in the homecoming games.