Stony Brook's non-conference football schedule is built on extremes. Last week, it was Central Connecticut. This Saturday, Pace visits LaValle Stadium. Next week, the Seawolves (1-0) face the Big East's Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Later this month, it's Army at West Point.
The Seawolves say there is only one way to approach these games: Treat them similarly. "We prepare for every team the same,'' linebacker Jawara Dudley said. "We [approach] every opponent as if they could beat us, so we won't get beat. Right now, we'll focus on Pace University.''
Central Connecticut was no match for Stony Brook's explosive offense, which featured three touchdowns by running back Miguel Maysonet and three touchdown passes by quarterback Kyle Essington in the 49-17 triumph. Pace lost to Bentley, 42-0, in its season opener.
"I wouldn't call them tuneup games,'' said Dudley, who had two sacks against Central Connecticut. "They are respectable opponents that we have to play. We still have to get on the field and operate at a high level. If we don't do that, no matter how good we are on paper, there's always a point where we could get beat.''
For Pace, Stony Brook is the game circled on the schedule. "It's going to be a good game to see where we are at,'' said Pace defensive back David Lopez, who attended Christ the King High School. "Big-time school. Big game. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain; that's our mind-set. We are going against them to give them a good game, not to just go out and be a blowout in the first quarter.''
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore does not look at the caliber of opponent when making his game plan. He said, "We understand where we are when we go and play Syracuse. We have to understand where we are when we play Pace. It's that balance that you create to understand who you are as a football team and what your strengths and weaknesses against each opponent could be.''
Priore intends to rotate more players into the remaining non-conference games. "I'm not going to let my inside linebacker [Dudley] who I need for the next 10 games take on their offensive guard 72 times. It's not going to happen. We've got good players behind these kids . . . The philosophy is you've got to play to win the season, not just the game.''