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Seawolves outrace Red Raiders, 42-26
Stony Brook, NY (8/30) - The SUNY Stony Brook Seawolves rushed early and often starting with great field position to forge a 28-3 lead over the Colgate Red Raiders (0-1) in the first half on their way to a 42-26 victory in the 2008 opener for both squads. One reason the Red Raiders could not keep pace with the Seawolves (1-0) was the absence of the Championship Division's leading active rusher, Jordan Scott, due to a pre-game suspension. Stony Brook took advantage as the Raider offense was out of sync early giving the home team great field position to start drives on several occasions. Colgate took a 3-0 lead on a 21-yard FG by Jacob Stein, but the 'Wolves retaliated with four touchdowns in the half before Stein converted again on a 29-yarder with :37 left.
In the interim, four Seawolves scored on the ground to build the 28-3 lead. Leading rushers Conte Cuttino (107 yards on 14 rushes, 1TD) and Edwin Gowins (149 yards on 12 rushes, 2 TDs) scored in the first period from the one and the 22 respectively. QB Dwayne Hoffman and Brandon Mason each took it in from the one in the second period, Gowins' and Hoffman's scores resulted in drives of only 34 and 37 yards. Without their leading rusher, Scott, the Red Raiders did not mount a long drive until they went 65 yards to put Stein into scoring position before the half ended.
In the third, Stony Brook struck at the first minute mark when Hoffman unleashed a 49-yard scoring strike to Lynell Suggs. The Raiders came right back with a score, but at 35-12, the Seawolves seemed to have the game in hand. The two teams traded TDs before the end of the period and Colgate scored one more in the fourth to come up with the final numbers, 42-26. The third-year Championship Division program looks like it can compete this year against some good competition and for a conference championship in the Big South. Colgate's season becomes a question mark depending on the status of Jordan Scott. We'll wait to hear the outcome to see what happens.
Extra Points: A great "thank you" to the Stony Book Press's Alex Nagler and SBU Director of Athletics Communications Phil Hess for inviting us to enjoy the game in the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium Press box! My Guest Game Analyst (GGA) and son, Eric, and I were invited to watch last night's game from press row after Alex had read Vinny Mallozzi's New York Times article and checked out collegefootballfan.com. He saw this game on our tentative schedule and invited us to do an article for the "other " Stony Brook student newspaper. He and his editor, Najib, came by to talk to us at the half. Both guys are big sports fans and die-hard Seawolves! We'll link the article to our site as soon as it comes out.
The Stony Brook football program and Stadium exceeded my original expectations. As demonstrated on the field tonight and in the past, they can already compete with the Patriot League after only two years in the Football Championship Division. Last year, they beat Maine and came up short against another Colonial Athletic Association team, Hofstra, 33-28. Their size and speed already put them on par with what's already considered the strongest conference at this level, the CAA. They'll get to prove it on the field this season prior to Big South competition when they play Elon, visit Maine, and host local rival Hofstra once again. Alex and Najib are looking forward to that one!
The Stadium is nice. Built in 2002, it holds 8,136, and the playing surface is Field Turf. Yesterday, 5,085 fans attended. Alex explained the timing was good since the freshman class is now on campus for orientation. Despite the upper classes not on campus yet, spirit in the stands seemed very high. Students get in for free. School President Dr. Shirley Strum Kenney, who announced her retirement at the end of this school year, is a native Texan and UT grad. Our interviewers explained that she wants to leave the school with a good football program behind as part of her legacy. She seems to be headed in the right direction.
A note taped to each seat in the press box reads: "Stony Brook and the NCAA reminds each person that this is a working press box. Cheering for either team will not be tolerated. Your cooperation is expected and greatly appreciated." That's one disadvantage of sitting in the press box. On the other hand, we got complimentary programs, free sandwiches, sodas, cookies, and seats high over the 40-yard line. We sat in press row between two radio booths.
The Seawolves wear uniforms similar to Ohio State. It seemed they missed their queue to run on the field when the mascot let out a howl when thy lined up in the tunnel. Eric seems torn now between two potential careers. He saw that sportswriters get great seats and free food. On the other hand, he saw EMS workers sitting in back of an ambulance on the southwest corner of the field and seriously said, "That's a great job! You get to save peoples' lives, AND get into the games for free!"
One disappointment was not seeing Colgate's Jordan Scott perform. He could have made a difference in this game, but we'll never know. It would have been good to see the best back coming into the FCS this year, and it would have been an opportunity to see how Stony Brook's D would stack up against him. Liberty is the favorite to win the Big South. If the Seawolves surprise, we wouldn't hesitate to try to get out to LI again to see a playoff game.
Other disappointment - taking an hour and a half to crawl across the George Washington Bridge on the way to the game. We planned 30 minutes. No problem getting back. We're sure the U.S. Open Tennis match being played that evening had something to do with the traffic on the way over.