HAMILTON, N.Y. - Stony Brook safety Christian Ricard's warning is a simple one.
"Don't let Colgate's record fool you," Ricard said about the 1-4 Red Raiders. "They're a great team. It's going to be a battle."
Latest college sports stories
Stony Brook snapped its own three-game losing streak a week ago with a win over Bryant. Now the Seawolves (2-3) are desperate for a victory in their final non-conference game. That would put them at .500 heading into their bye week before they try to make a push for the FCS playoffs with five straight Colonial Athletic Association games.
Beating Bryant, Ricard said, "was huge. It was exactly what we needed. We have to keep it going. Every game is a playoff game if we even want a chance at the playoffs."
The onus will be on Stony Brook's defense to contain Colgate quarterback Gavin McCarney, who gave the Seawolves fits a year ago in a 32-31 SBU victory. McCarney aggravated a knee injury in the Red Raiders' win last week at Cornell but is listed as probable for the 6 p.m. game Saturday at Andy Kerr Stadium.
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore puts McCarney in a class with Towson running back Terrance West and Villanova quarterback John Robertson as one of the best players the Seawolves will face this season. "They're all in the same ballpark as far as their ability," Priore said. "This kid doesn't have the same surroundings as the other kids do [at Towson and Villanova], but he's a very good player."
Three Stony Brook turnovers last year led to three Colgate TDs, but McCarney kept pressure on the defense. This season he's averaging 85 yards per game rushing and 183 passing and has completed 66 percent of his passes.
"They gain yards on everybody, so it's a matter of bend, don't break," Priore said. "You've got to play 11 men, responsibility football. If they put their eyes in the wrong place, big plays happen."
The Red Raiders have lost two tailbacks to injury this season, but they moved wide receiver Jimmy DeCicco into the backfield and he rushed for 141 yards and two TDs at Cornell.
"He's fast," Ricard said. "You can see he's getting better every game. We can't let him get in space, because he'll burn you."
Choosing between McCarney and DeCicco on the read-option puts any defense in a difficult position. "From what I've seen on film, he's probably read the zone-read offense better than any quarterback I've seen," Ricard said of McCarney. "If you don't stay gap-disciplined and do our jobs, he can really catch the defense."