Seawolves survive Bulldogs, 21-13, Saturday

Photo by: DSPics
Photo by: DSPics

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Senior quarterback Mike Westerhaus (Farmingville, N.Y.) threw for a touchdown and also rushed for a score but the Bryant University football team's upset bid of Stony Brook fell short, 21-13, on Saturday evening at LaValle Stadium.

The Bulldogs (3-2) played the Seawolves (2-3) even for the entirety of the game and pulled within a point in the fourth quarter but could not overcome a late 41-yard touchdown from the home team.

Facing the Seawolves for the second time in program history, the Black and Gold put forth one of their best outings of the season, holding the high-powered offense to 379 yards of total offense and only 16 first downs. The previous meeting between the two schools ended with Stony Brook earning a 30-0 victory.

On Saturday, the Seawolves started with the same type of mindset. After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, Stony Brook needed just six plays to take the lead. Back-to-back completions to Malcom Eugene put the Seawolves to the Bryant 27 and Tyler Fredericks eight-yard TD run made it 7-0 just five minutes into the contest.

Stony Brook then appeared primed to increase that lead as the Black and Gold fumbled the first play of their next drive. The Seawolves took over at the Bryant 18 but the Bulldogs' defense made a huge stop on fourth-and-one to get the ball back at their own nine.

The defensive stand gave Bryant momentum and they turned it into their best drive of the season. The Bulldogs drove 91 yards in 13 plays to tie the game at 7-7. Junior Michael Perry (Dunmore, Pa.) started the drive with an 11-yard run and then exploded for a 31-yard gain on third-and-11 to put the ball at the Stony Brook 23. Bryant eventually pushed the ball to Seawolves' two-yard line and junior Ryan Barrett (Holliston, Mass.) capped the drive by leaping up and hauling in a Westerhaus pass on fourth-and-goal to tie the game with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

Stony Brook didn't waste any time regaining the lead as it scored just 48 seconds later. A 15-yard completion to Eugene started the drive before Lyle Negron hit Adrian Coxson on a screen-pass and the speedy receiver made two Bulldogs miss before scampering for a 63-yard touchdown.

Both defenses then took over, holding each other scoreless over the next two quarters. The two teams combined for just five first downs in the second quarter and only five more in the third quarter. Two of Stony Brook's drives ended in missed field goals over that span and Bryant saw a drive stopped short after a holding call negated a 17-yard completion on second down.

Bryant was finally able to respond offensively following a great defensive stand. Junior Jeff Covitz (Reading, Mass.) sacked Negron on second down and the Bulldogs' secondary broke up the third down pass to get the ball back at the start of the fourth quarter. Sophomore Paul Canevari (Warwick, R.I.) started the drive with a 31-burst down the sideline to put the ball inside the Stony Brook 20 but the Bulldogs seemed stymied three plays later. Westerhaus dropped back to pass but saw no one open and decided to run, scampering into the endzone from 13 yards out. The PAT, however, was missed, leaving the Bulldogs down by a point.

Like they did earlier, the Seawolves immediately responded thanks to a pair of huge third-down conversions. Facing a third-and-two at the Stony Brook 40, tight end Will Tye caught a dump-off and then broke through a tackle to gain a first down and move the chains. Four plays later, Negron found Devante Wheeler wide open in the middle of the field for a 41-yard touchdown on third-and-nine to make it 21-13.

The Bulldogs had one more chance to tie the game but they could not convert on a fourth down conversion. Westerhaus connected with senior Jordan Harris (Lincoln University, Pa.) on a third-and-nine to keep the drive alive, and then hit Barrett for 11 yards on a third-and-seven to put the ball to the Seawolves 42. Facing a third-and-six, Westerhaus eluded a sack and bulled his way for a first down to the Stony Brook 31. Four plays later, however, Westerhaus was unable to connect on a fourth-and-seven and the Bulldogs turned the ball back to the Seawolves.

Bryant posted 152 rushing yards on the afternoon led by Perry's 72 yards on 12 carries. Westerhaus finished 15-of-28 for 128 yards, while Harris caught four passes for 53 yards. Defensively, the Black and Gold picked up three more sacks thanks to a pair from Covitz. Junior Sam Sammons (Cypress, Texas) and Marquise Watson (Hillside, N.J.) tied for the team lead with six tackles.

The Bulldogs return home for the first time in over a month next weekend when they welcome Brown to Bulldog Stadium on Homecoming & Reunion Weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.