A Sea Battle: Football Looks To Bounce Back Against Wagner

Brian Stanley leads the Seawolves into action on Saturday
 
Brian Stanley leads the Seawolves into action on Saturday
 
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Oct. 5, 2000

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook vs. Wagner Game Notes

Saturday's Game: The Seawolves hit the road for the second time this season to meet NEC rival Wagner. It is their third straight conference game.

The Series: Wagner has dominated the all-time series between the two teams, winning all six meetings. However, most of the games have been close, the Seahawks have won all six games by a total of 47 points.

Last Week: Albany rushed for 329 yards and forced three turnovers in a 47-14 win over Stony Brook last Saturday at Seawolves Field. Albany has now won five straight against the Seawolves. The Seawolves had entered the game ranked second in the NEC in rushing defense.

Special Teams: Not So Special: The Stony Brook special teams played a crucial role in last week's loss to Albany. In the first half, Albany blocked three, that's right, three punts that it turned into 17 points to build a 27-14 halftime lead.

Stanley Sets New Mark: In the loss, quarterback Brian Stanley threw for a career-high 262 yards and two scores. He also connected with Lucas Niskanen on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in a touchdown - career-bests for both players. Stanley went over the 1,500 career passing yards mark last week and is on pace to throw for 1,858 yards for the year. The single-season record for passing yardage is held by Timm Schroeder who threw for 2,407 yards in 1994.

Injuries Hit Hard: Starting wide receiver Lucas Niskanen separated his shoulder at the end of his 80-yard touchdown catch and will miss 2-4 weeks. Niskanen totaled 123 yards receiving before getting hurt. Backup safety Jesse Reynolds sprained an ankle and will likely miss two weeks. Starting strong safety Dan Bertzos is still sidelined with a sprained ankle. He has not played since the first half of game one.

Back And Forth: The Seawolves have put together an interesting 14-game streak dating back to last season. Beginning with a season opening loss to Wagner last year, Stony Brook has alternated losses and wins or wins and losses throughout the last two seasons. The Seawolves won the final game of last year and the first of this year, but have not had a two game in-season winning streak since back-to-back wins over Pace and Assumption from Sept. 26-Oct. 3 of 1998.

Driving Alexis: Linebacker Alexis Ayala has been a standout on defense this season. He leads the team in tackles with 28, averaging seven tackles per game. He has made things happen this year - he is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and has one fumble recovery to his credit.

Charles In Charge: Freshman wideout Charles Burrows made an impact last week with a four-catch, 51-yard performance which lead all Seawolves receivers. The 5-9 speedster from Southampton, N.Y. will continue to see more time in the absence of starting wide receiver Lucas Niskanen.

A Big Loss: With Niskanen out, the Seawolves are left with a big hole in their lineup. He ranks third all-time in receptions (112) and receiving yards (1,378).

No Ordinary Joe: Sophomore linebacker Joe Schiraldo leads the team in tackles for a loss (5) and sacks (3). Schiraldo redshirted last year.

Ralph On The Run: Senior running back Ralph Menendez returned from an arm infection last week and scored his 20th career touchdown (fourth all-time at Stony Brook) in the first quarter on a six-yard scamper. He finished with 52 yards on 11 carries and now needs 362 yards to become Stony Brook's all-time leader.

Turning It Over: The Seawolves ranked third in the nation in turnover margin (+2.25/game).

Big As A Hausmann: Sophomore DT Brandt Hausmann registered a career-high nine stops last week against Albany. He entered the game with five tackles on the year. Fellow DT Shaldon Watson also made a career-high nine tackles.

Cutting It Close: The matchups between the Seahawks and the Seawolves have traditionally been tightly fought contests. Wagner has won all six meeting by a combined 47 points, an average winning margin of 7.8 points. However, taking away the 26-10 outcome in 1985 gives a more accurate picture of just how close the games have been over the last five years. The Seahawks have edged the Seawolves by an average of 6.2 points, including two one-point decisions in 1995 and 1998.

Third And Long: The Seawolves will have to do a better job on third downs to beat Wagner today. On the season, they are 17-63 on third downs, a 27 percent conversion rate. In their two losses against St. John's and Albany, Stony Brook was a combined 5-33 (15 percent) on third down, mainly because they put themselves in many third and long situations. The Seawolves have converted three of 17 opportunities on third down and 11 or more yards to go.

And Now For An Interception: The Seawolves have intercepted more than one pass in three out of four games this year, including a team-high five against St. Francis. In that game, two of the interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Through four games the Seawolves have 10 picks, a pace that will give them 25 for the year. They had 13 all of last year.

Philling In: Starting tight end Phil Lombardi has been impressive so far in his first season of play at the position. A converted fullback who is now a starter due to a shoulder injury to David Kopp, Lombardi has filled in nicely, catching nine passes for 73 yards. Backing him up will be Kevin McGrogan and James Oliveto. Oliveto was moved to the tight end position this week.

On The Road Again: The win over St. Francis two weeks ago snapped a four-game road losing streak.

In The Red Zone: The Seawolves are eight for 11 in red zone opportunties this year with six touchdowns and two field goals. Two missed field goals and an interception account for the only red zone failures.

Third's The Charm: The third quarter has been a good one so far this season for Stony Brook. The Seawolves have come out of halftime to outscore their opponents 34-14 after the break.

Sacked For A Loss: The Seawolves have yielded 13 sacks this season for a loss of 121 yards.

News and Notes: SB ranks 13th in the nation in passing defense . . .The new home of Stony Brook football is currently under construction behind the Stony Brook Indoor Sports Complex. The stadium is slated to be completed by November of 2001 . . . Stony Brook has been a member of four different football conferences in its history.

3-2-1 . . . Launch: The Seawolves unveiled their new web site on Wednesday, October 4th. Stony Brook has entered into a partnership with the FANSonly Network and debuted a exciting new look to its web page that features the latest news, bios, roster, schedules and information on Seawolves athletics. You can find the Seawolves on the Internet by logging on at www.goseawolves.org.

The Schedule: The 2000 schedule features eight conference games as newcomer St. John's joined the NEC this summer. The two non-conference opponents include Southern Connecticut and an October 28th matchup on the road against Jacksonville.

Captains: Quarterback Brian Stanley and free safety Paul Thomas will captain the 2000 Seawolves.