The Big Picture: JMU, Stony Brook Among Contenders On The Move

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Every week, The Big Picture provides an overview of the Colonial Athletic Association with a whip-around the conference’s action. In Week 9, however, it’s for the best that The Big Picture yields the floor to one of the Colonial’s players. 

UAlbany’s Tyler Carswell captured the essence of the CAA in a single tweet. 

Long Island Ice-T

Stony Brook quarterback Tyquell Fields provided the decisive score already once before in a Seawolves comeback win. His 50-yard touchdown run at Rhode Island stacks up among the most impressive plays of the 2019 season, but Fields may have outdone himself with a 40-yard strike to Nick Anderson Saturday at Villanova. 

The absolute dime set up Nick Courtney for a 22-yard field goal as time expired, the capper of a torrid final five minutes. Stony Brook scored 16 points in that stretch on a Fields touchdown pass to Shawn Harris; a goal-line Fields run; and the field goal to erase a 15-point deficit. 

Tyquell has ice in his veins. Ice-T. Feel free to use that one the rest of the season, with credit to The Big Picture. 

And how long the rest of the season extends for Stony Brook may have changed dramatically after Saturday’s result. The Seawolves didn’t just rally to beat No. 5-ranked Villanova. The comeback win may well have salvaged their Playoff hopes. 

Stony Brook stared down slipping to .500 heading into the final month of the regular season on a three-game losing streak. A fourth-down touchdown run from DeeWil Barlee -- who, at 131 yards, played his best game since taking over for injured Justin Covington -- seemingly slammed the door. 

Barlee’s touchdown provided workmanlike contrast to a couple of truly spectacular, trick plays dialed up for scores earlier in the contest. Jaaron Hayek and TD Ayo-Durojaiye both threw for touchdowns. 

Instead, Chuck Priore’s team adds a top five to its resume. Having already shown it can play with championship contenders, taking second-ranked James Madison to overtime earlier this month, Stony Brook emphasized just how dangerous it can be in the postseason. 

Just Make The Whole Wall Out Of Greg Liggs

This week at FloFootball.com, we spotlighted Elon’s Get The Ball Wall. Phoenix cornerback Greg Liggs was already all over the Wall, coming into Week 9 with four takeaways. 

His photo’s going up three more times after a 38-13 win at Rhode Island. 

For the second time on the season, Liggs picked off three passes in a single game, duplicating his remarkable effort against New Hampshire earlier this month. 

Liggs isn’t just prominent on The Wall, either. His name will appear atop Elon football records now, too, as the program’s premier pass picker.  

The Mayhem Defense’s collective effort on Saturday has the Phoenix’s playoff prospects rising. Since losing three in a row, Elon is a winner of two straight by a combined 58 points. This is a team catching fire at the right time, and finishing out with three wins in November could be enough to send the Phoenix to a third straight Playoffs. 

All Earnest Everything

When Maine wide receiver Earnest Edwards ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns in a rout of Colgate last month, Black Bears coach Nick Charlton noted Edwards’ contributions go well beyond his explosion on special teams. 

As it turns out, Edwards’ game includes more than returning or receiving -- and that’s no knock on his skills in either phase. Edwards moved to No. 5 all-time in Maine football history for receiving yardage during Saturday’s 34-25 win over William & Mary. Sixty-seven of them came on a touchdown catch from freshman phenom Joe Fagnano

So, yeah, Edwards can catch passes. He can throw them, too. This beauty into traffic to Jaquan Blair makes four on Edwards’ career. 

Richmond Resilience

Dropping a heartbreaker it controlled much of the way against Yale could have understandably sank Richmond’s spirits heading back into CAA competition. But as it did rebounding from a 1-3 start, UR snapped back to life to remain in the thick of Colonial race. 

The Spiders’ 35-25 win at Delaware pushed them to 3-1 in the conference, with plenty to play for in the final month. Quarterback Joe Mancuso shined with 280 yards passing, 95 rushing and three total touchdowns -- including a 67-yard connection with Keyston Fuller that cut off a second-half Delaware rally. It was the longest play of Fuller’s monster, 161-yard day. 

The Fightin’ Blue Hens sliced an 18-point deficit to three before the long score. Remarkably, it was only the third-longest Spiders touchdown of the day. 

Aaron Dykes put on a show, joining Maine’s Edwards as the only players this season to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. 

Of course, the mindset that allowed Richmond to move on from defeat has to apply in wins, too, if the Spiders are to make a Playoff push. And Dykes is onto the next opportunity. 

Dukes With A Capital D

While much of the CAA ends October facing attainable yet uncertain postseason futures, James Madison winning its eighth straight has it on a clear route that leads to Frisco, Texas. 

Defense paves that road, and Saturday may have been the Dukes’ signature effort on that side of the ball. They held Towson to just 10 points in a 27-10 victory, with the dynamite D-line of John Daka, Ron’Dell Carter and Mike Greene combining for 6.5 sacks -- 2.5 or two for each. 

James Madison capped its Homecoming week with the dominant win, and in true Homecoming fashion, Dukes of the past got some love. A cool moment on the game broadcast followed up a Daka sack of Tigers quarterback Tom Flacco with highlights of JMU great Arthur Moats sacking former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. 

What’s better than a win on Homecoming? How about signing the alma mater as a team. 

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