459 days will have separated the Stony Brook Seawolves football team between their last football game and their next football game as they prep for an unusual spring season that’s full of conference games.
The Seawolves finally get the opportunity to gear up for a one-of-a-kind season after spending the last few weeks and the Fall practicing after they were unable to participate in the Fall 2020 FCS Football season after the announcement was made on July 17, while the pandemic was still a few months old, that the CAA would not participate in the Fall season, like many other conferences that made the same decision, inevitably leading to the postponement of the fall season until the spring.
Months ago, the CAA announced a 6-game conference schedule for all active participants in the conference, with the first conference games set to kickoff this weekend, beginning with #13 UAlbany at #14 New Hampshire, both of whom will host Stony Brook later this season. The only inactive team that will not participate is the Towson Tigers, who deferred to the Fall 2021 season. With that decision, the CAA split up the conference into two divisions for the Spring, with 6 teams representing the North, including Stony Brook, and 4 teams representing the South division, with the team with the best conference record at the conclusion of the regular season claiming the CAA title.
The Seawolves first of 6 conference games is a rematch at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium with the #5 Villanova Wildcats. Despite the way people have sized up the Seawolves and Wildcats throughout the last few years, the track record has favored Stony Brook as they currently own a 3-1 series lead, winning the last two against Villanova. The Wildcats’ lone win as of now against the Seawolves was back in 2013 in Villanova when the Wildcats bested the first-year conference member 35-6.
Last season, on October 26, 2019, the Wildcats, also ranked #5 at that time, and coming off a 14-point loss with #2 James Madison, hosted Stony Brook as part of their Homecoming game, and after giving up the first TD of the game to QB Tyquell Fields following a blocked punt by EJ Finneran, the Wildcats responded with a 28-3 in the first half, giving Villanova a 28-10 lead at halftime.
However, like the season before when the Wildcats had a big lead in the first half, a fumble on the kickoff return to start the 2nd half on Villanova gave way for another Seawolves’ comeback as they outscored the Wildcats 26-7, capped off by a game-winning field goal by Nick Courtney to give the Seawolves the upset win at Villanova 36-35.
In the drive for Villanova before the GW drive for Stony Brook after they failed an onside kick recovery when they failed a 2PT conversion that would’ve tied the game at 35, the Wildcats committed a penalty on their drive, stopping the clock and giving the Seawolves the ball back near midfield with no timeouts and 20 seconds left. On the Seawolves’ GW drive, Fields, with 11 seconds left, threw a deep ball down the field to Nick Anderson, who immediately put the team in FG range inside the 5-yard line, and allowed Fields to spike the ball and stop the clock with less than 5 seconds to go, giving Courtney the winning boot through the uprights.
During the extended offseason, the Wildcats suffered some huge losses such as their leading wide receiver Changa Hodge, who played 9 game last season and had 65 catches, 1118 yards, and 13 TD’s, who transferred to Virginia Tech, and Mikey Taylor, who had 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2 seasons at Villanova, transferred to Ohio. The Wildcats are getting key pieces back such as junior QB Daniel Smith, RB Justin Covington, who missed half of last season due to an ACL injury which kept him sidelined in the loss to Stony Brook, and TE Todd Summers, who initially decided to enter the transfer portal, but afterwards decided to return to Villanova.
For Stony Brook, QB Tyquell Fields and RB Ty Son Lawton return to their starting roles from last season. With a WR trio in Nick Anderson, Andrew Trent, and Jean Constant graduated, it paves the way for a new trio of weapons for the senior QB in Malik Love, transfer from UNH, Khalil Newton, transfer from Ball State, and Seawolves experience of Delante Hellams and Shawn Harris, along with the addition of Jackson Gregory, transfer OL from Louisville.
The defense for Stony Brook buffs up with the return of star LB Augie Contessa, DB TJ Morrison, DL Sam Kamara, who missed a majority of last season due to an injury, and the addition of transfer LB Elias Reynolds from Pittsburgh.
The Seawolves and Wildcats will look to start their season with a win as they will face off at LaValle Stadium on Saturday, March 6, at 12pm with fans in attendance limited to family of participants.