After a scary head injury last week to Stony Brook leading receiver Ray Bolden, fellow receiver Harrison Jackson was sure to remind his teammates to make the most of their opportunities and enjoy their successes.
“Some people try to get through practice, but a lot of the guys on this team, we try to have fun with it,” Jackson said. “I said to the receiver group, ‘Every game’s not guaranteed, so you just take advantage of each day and just keep working hard and have fun with it.’ ”
Bolden, who was carted off the field and was dealing with whiplash and a slight concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter of a 38-10 home victory over Wagner Saturday, tweeted Monday “Cleared for Saturday” and coach Chuck Priore confirmed Tuesday evening that Bolden cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play in the Seawolves’ final regular-season game at Maine Saturday at noon.
Priore said he went to the hospital after last week’s victory and said Bolden was in “great spirits.”
“No teammates, fan, family member ever wants to see that from someone on the field,” Jackson said. “Obviously I’m really close with Ray and it was tough. You just hate to see it but this is the game of football and we take those risks as a football player, but obviously nobody wants to see that.”
Bolden ranks 14th in the FCS in receptions per game (6.4) and his 64 receptions are twice the amount of the team’s next leading receiver. He leads the team with 769 receiving yards and has nine of the team’s 18 receiving touchdowns.
With Bolden expected back on the field, Stony Brook (8-2, 6-1 Colonial Athletic Conference) looks to build its already strong case for one of the 24 spots in the FCS playoffs entering the final week of the season. The Seawolves, ranked No. 10 in STATS FCS rankings and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll, could even play themselves into a top-eight spot, which would give them a first-round bye in the playoffs.
“To be honest with you, we’ve not addressed the playoff stuff as a team,” Priore said. “The only thing we’ve talked about is getting ready for this Saturday and a chance to get another league win. Get seven league wins and see where that puts us. The other thing, we have no control over, so the only control we have is if we win, we put our resume on the plate and they take a look at us.”
Jackson echoed Priore’s sentiments before playing Maine (4-5, 3-4 CAA) with the potential to play in the program’s first FCS postseason since 2012.
“It’s awesome, but right now we’re not focusing on all the ‘Playoffs this, what ifs,’ ” Jackson said. “Right now, we’re just trying to finish this game, take this one last game and playing it like it is our last game.”