It took some time, but Stony Brook football transitioned nicely into Colonial Athletic Association membership. After four straight, 5-win seasons, the Seawolves broke out with a 10-3 campaign in 2017.
They followed it up last year with their second consecutive FCS Playoffs appearance, duplicating a feat last accomplished in Stony Brook’s final two years of Big South Conference membership.
Coach Chuck Priore has navigated Stony Brook through several successful transitions in his 13 years at the helm. Priore begins Year 14 with the program well-established in the deepest conference in the country, and with a firm identity as having one of the saltiest defenses anywhere in college football.
That shouldn’t change in 2019. Stony Brooks returns playmakers across each unit of the defense, including a leading contender for this year’s Buck Buchanan Award, defensive end Sam Kamara.
For Stony Brook to contend for the CAA championship this season, as it did in 2019, the Seawolves will have to win on the road. They went a perfect 5-0 at home in 2018, but just 2-5 away from it. This year’s schedule includes preseason CAA favorites James Madison and Towson coming to LaValle Stadium, but the depth of the Colonial means plenty of trap games on the road.
Head Coach: Chuck Priore (14th year at Stony Brook, 84-66; 20th year overall, 123-75)
Offensive Coordinators: Carmen Felus/Chris Bache
Defensive Coordinators: Bobby McIntyre
2018 Record: 7-5 (5-3 CAA); lost in 1st Round of FCS Playoffs at SEMO, 28-14
2019 Preseason Poll: 6th, 151 points
Refer to a defensive statistic in 2018, and chances are Stony Brook ranks prominently among the best in FCS. The Seawolves finished last season ranked nationally:
- No. 12 in scoring defense at 20.3 points per game allowed (No. 2 in the CAA)
- No. 20 against the run, allowing 122.1 yards per game (No. 2)
- No. 29 against the pass at 193.3 yards per game (No. 6)
- No. 25 with 33 sacks (No. 6)
- No. 18 with 91 tackles for loss (No. 2)
- No. 7 on opponent third downs at 28.2 percent (No. 1)
- No. 4 in red-zone defense at 63.2 percent allowed scores, with just 19 touchdowns yielded (No. 1)
- No. 1 in defensive touchdowns with six
Bobby McIntyre is entering just his third season as Stony Brook’s defense coordinator, but has fast made a mark with two of the country’s premier seasons on that side of the ball. The 2019 edition has some production to reproduce, losing standouts Noah McGinty and Shayne Lawless from the linebacker corps.
However, the unit’s development gets an immediate boost playing behind what could be one of the best defensive lines in college football. Kamara is coming off a monster campaign in which he totaled nine sacks with 11.5 tackles for loss, and he’s joined up front by Casey Williams. Williams was a phenom in his first year, recording 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
The secondary features plenty of returning talent, as well. Gavin Heslop and Synceir Malone both broke up 10 pass attempts in 2018, while Augie Contressa contributed everywhere: 73 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Stony Brook’s offense complemented its stellar defense nicely with an effective, multifaceted rushing attack. Few teams have a 1,000-yard rusher on whom to lean: Stony Brook essentially had two. Donald Liotine went for 1,148 yards with six touchdowns, and Jordan Gowins produced 995 yards with eight scores. Both are gone.
Also gone is quarterback Joe Carbone, who added another four touchdowns on the ground to go with his 15 through the air. Carbone also manned the position for the better part of his four-year career, captaining each of Stony Brook’s first two teams ever to reach the Playoffs out of the CAA.
A new face will be at quarterback Week 1 against Bryant, as well as a certain wide receiver — well, a new face for Stony Brook, anyway. The Seawolves added transfer Jean Constant from Bryant in the offseason. Constant caught for 477 and 594 yards each of the previous two seasons, and seven touchdowns a piece each campaign.
The wide receiving corps adds another potential high-impact transfer in Brandon Benson. If his debut at Stony Brook is anything like his first play at SMU, watch out: He went 75 yards to the end zone on his first career grab.
While the offense is rife with new names, the offensive line returns plenty of experience. Senior Joe Detorie has 21 starts over the last two seasons, and sophomore Kyle Nunez is a Preseason 1st Team All-CAA honoree.
Redshirt senior Isaiah White has done it all in his Stony Brook career. He rushed for 243 yards as a freshman in 2015, before injury ended his season and eventually led to him converting to linebacker. White will again be a running back in 2019, but it’s his play on special teams that garnered him Preseason 1st Team All-CAA.
Casey Williams debuted with a bang in 2018 at defensive end, but his contributions extend to special teams. He blocked three kicks, tied for fourth-most in the nation.
Stony Brook replaces a key figure from its special teams, who factored into the team’s defensive excellence. Punter Marc Nolan pinned opponents inside the 20 20 times on 64 kicks in 2018.
Bryant, Aug. 29 (Thursday) | Watch Live: Stony Brook fell behind midway through the fourth quarter of last season’s matchup, before rolling off a stagger 30 consecutive points to win, 50-21.
@ Utah State, Sept. 7: The Seawolves take a cross-country trek into Mountain West Conference territory for a second consecutive season, last year having traveled to Air Force. Utah State was one of the biggest surprises of the 2018 college football season. The Aggies finished in the FBS top five for scoring offense.
Wagner, Sept. 14 | Watch Live: It’s only about 70 miles from Stony Brook’s campus on Long Island to Wagner’s in the borough of Staten Island. So, it’s no surprise these non-conference counterparts have played relatively frequently. The Seawolves rolled over the Seahawks in their last meeting, 2017, 38-10.
Fordham, Sept. 21 | Watch Live: Stony Brook stifled Fordham’s offense in last season’s matchup in the Bronx, building a 28-0 lead before surrendering a single touchdown in the fourth quarter.
@ Rhode Island*, Sept. 28 | Watch Live: The typically stout Stony Brook defense came to play against the Rams in 2018, holding the CAA’s third-leading scoring offense (31.2 points per game) to just 14. But the Seawolves also scored twice in every quarter en route to a 52-14 romp.
James Madison*, Oct. 5 | Watch Live: A couple of James Madison field goals in the fourth quarter denied Stony Brook a huge, road win in 2018. It was a grind between two of the nation’s premier defenses; expect more of the same in 2019.
New Hampshire*, Oct. 12 | Watch Live: A pair of defensive touchdowns — including T.J. Morrison’s 35-yard pick-six just 97 seconds after an Andrew Trent touchdown reception — highlighted the Seawolves’ 35-7 rout at New Hampshire last season.
@ Villanova*, Oct. 26 | Watch Live: In perhaps the most thrilling win of 2018, Stony Brook chipped away at a 21-0 deficit in the late second quarter, scoring 29 consecutive points and ultimately denying Villanova a would-be, game-tying two-point conversion.
@ Richmond*, Nov. 2 | Watch Live: Gavin Heslop’s 87-yard scoop-and-score got the scoring rolling for Stony Brook in last year’s 36-10 blowout of the Spiders.
The defensive clinic was the first of three in CAA competition for the Seawolves last season in which they held their opponent to 10 points or fewer.
Towson*, Nov. 9 | Watch Live: Surrendering a 96-yard, game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown to Shane Simpson set an ominous tone for this matchup a season ago. The Seawolves get the Tigers at home in 2019, and coming down the stretch in CAA play, this one could be vital to both the Playoffs and conference championship landscapes.
@ Delaware*: Nov. 16 | Watch Live: Brandon Lopez and Sam Kamara were among the Seawolves to tee off in Delaware’s backfield when these teams met a season ago. Stony Brook put on perhaps its most impressive defensive performance in a campaign full of them against the Fightin’ Blue Hens, holding them without a touchdown.
UAlbany*, Nov. 23 | Watch Live: A shocker in the Empire Clash disrupted Stony Brook on its road to the 2018 FCS Playoffs. UAlbany rallied in the final minutes to score its only win of the CAA season, and impact the Seawolves’ postseason fate. The prospect for revenge looms large, as well as another potential roadblock between Stony Brook and the seeding it wants.