Stony Brook Rocks Raider Football in Opener

Bill Stoklosa

Last Saturday the Colgate football team kicked off its season with a rocky start against the Seawolves of Stony Brook, as the Raiders struggled, especially early, en route to a 42-26 loss on Long Island.

Colgate actually got on the board first thanks in part to junior cornerback Wayne Moten, who picked off a pass from Stony Brook quarterback Dayne Hoffman and brought the ball to the Stony Brook 24-yard line after a four-yard return. The Raiders gained 12 yards and had a third-and-11 from the Stony Brook 12 when senior quarterback Alex Relph scrambled for the end zone. Unfortunately, disaster struck when two Seawolves pummeled Relph at the Stony Brook four-yard line. Relph had to leave the game with a badly sprained ankle, and sophomore quarterback Greg Sullivan took over the signal-calling duties for Colgate. Senior kicker Jacob Stein kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.

It was all downhill after that. On the ensuing possession, Stony Brook went 65 yards on just six plays on a drive that was capped off by a Conte Cuttino touchdown rush for one yard, giving Stony Brook a 7-3 lead. The Seawolves struck again after Sullivan threw a costly pick that gave Stony Brook the ball on the Colgate 34. Stony Brook pushed its advantage to 14-3 on a 22-yard run by Edwin Gowins two plays later. In the second quarter, the Seawolves continued to dominate the game as Hoffman ran the ball into the end zone on a clutch quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-goal from the one. On their next drive, the Seawolves struck paydirt when Brandon Mason punched the ball into the end zone to propel the Seawolves to a 28-3 lead. Stein hit a 29-yard field goal before the half, but Colgate still faced a 28-6 deficit. Defense was a major part of the problem but the offense’s inability to stay on the field also contributed to the Raiders’ defensive issues last Saturday.

“We lost the game in the second quarter basically by not being able to run the ball or move the ball,” Head Coach Dick Biddle said.

Stony Brook’s offense was still clicking in the second half, as the Seawolves scored after just 52 seconds. Hoffman connected to Lynell Suggs for a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Seawolves a four touchdown advange. Colgate finally got into the end zone later in the quarter when first-year running back Jordan McCord broke off a six-yard run on fourth down to get the score to 35-12, but the extra point attempt failed. However, Stony Brook answered right back when they pushed the lead to 42-12 after a twenty-yard Gowins run.

Colgate put together two nice drives late in the game. Later in the third quarter, senior wideout Sam Breslin threw the ball after taking the pigskin on an end around and connecting with junior wide receiver Pat Simonds for a 67-yard touchdown strike. Then in the fourth quarter, McCord ran across the goal line again to cut the lead to 16. A 17-yard run by Sullivan helped set up that score. Colgate, however, could not get any closer and fell by 16 points.

Two of the main story lines in this game were the absence of Colgate star running back Jordan Scott and Stony Brook’s dominating running attack. Scott sat out this contest due to a one-game suspension. On the other hand, Stony Brook’s running game was the key to its success as Gowins shredded the defense with 147 yards and two scores while Conte Cuttino also had a stellar performance with 104 yards and a score. In total the Seawolves had 270 yards on the ground and 444 yards total.

Coach Biddle was certainly not pleased with his defense’s play on Long Island. He diagnosed the problem as his defensive unit not living up to its potential last Saturday.

“I don’t think as a whole our best players, our veteran players, played the way they should play and have to play for us to be successful,” Biddle said.

Despite the loss Colgate had several standouts and improved as the game went on. Sullivan especially seemed to play better as he took more snaps. On the receiving end, Simonds had six catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, rookie Jordan McCord ran for 90 yards and two scores in place of Scott.

“McCord was put in a tough situation as a freshman at running back,” Coach Biddle said. “He did not do a remarkable job, but a credible job as a freshman in his first game against a pretty good team. I was pleased with his performance.”

Colgate will be back in action on the road against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Scott and junior center Ryan Gross, who sat out the Stony Brook game with an injury, are both expected to play this weekend. Unfortunately, although Relph’s ankle is not broken, the quarterback will be held out of Sunday’s game.