Stony Brook running back Ty Son Lawton powers his way...

Stony Brook running back Ty Son Lawton powers his way into the end zone for the touchdown against Rhode Island on Thursday at LaValle Stadium. Credit: George A Faella

Much of the offseason for the Stony Brook football team was surrounded around the question of who the team’s starting quarterback would be. Thursday probably didn’t give a concrete answer to that question, but it gave an idea as to where the Seawolves may be leaning.

Redshirt senior Joshua Zamot and redshirt freshman Daron Bryden traded off series at quarterback in the first half in Stony Brook’s 35-14 loss to Rhode Island in a season-opening Colonial Athletic Association matchup at LaValle Stadium.

Coach Chuck Priore said the game plan was always for the two to split the early drives and let the game dictate the plan for the rest of the contest.

Unfortunately for the Seawolves, neither had much success against a tough Rhode Island defense.

Zamot started and played the majority of the game. He played the first, third and fifth series of the first half with Bryden starting the second and fourth series under center. Zamot played nearly the whole second half for Stony Brook.

Zamot completed 6 of 16 passes for 74 yards with an interception and rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries and Bryden completed 2 of 8 passes for 9 yards and two interceptions.

“We knew they were a good defensive run team and we were going to have to add some things and Josh gave us that escape ability and made plays,” Priore said. “Here’s what will happen. We knew this going in. If you want to give too much credit to the quarterback or if you want to take it away from him, it is a hard game.”

Stony Brook is entering a bye week and Priore wouldn’t disclose his future plan at quarterback. He said the bye week will “sort that out.”

Zamot, who played sparingly in 2021, said initially it was challenging to rotate series, but he felt it was best for the team. Ultimately, the Rhode Island defense was too much for them, holding the Seawolves to 250 total yards.

“Give credit to them, they did a pretty good job tonight,” Zamot said. “They blitzed a lot. I was just trying to do my best to move in the pocket and make plays in the pocket but give credit where credit’s due. They definitely played well tonight.”

Stony Brook scored the game’s first touchdown but neither quarterback had a hand in that.

Defensive back Carthell Flowers-Floyd broke through the line of scrimmage on third-and-8 and hit Rhode Island quarterback Kasim Hill a split second before attempting a pass. Flowers-Floyd forced a fumble at the 30-yard line, scooped the ball at the 20 line and scored to give Stony Brook a 7-0 lead with 10:14 left in the first quarter.

Rhode Island scored the game’s next two touchdowns before Stony Brook closed the opening half on an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive over 5:14, capped off by Ty Son Lawton’s 2-yard touchdown run, to tie the score at 14 with 50 seconds left in the first half.

Rhode Island outscored Stony Brook 21-0 in the second half, scoring its first of three second-half touchdowns when Hill found Ed Lee open in the middle of the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown to take a 21-14 lead with 3:31 left in the third quarter. That capped an 11-play, 87-yard drive over 4:18. Hill added a 10-yard rushing touchdown with 12:24 left in the fourth quarter and Marques DeShields rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:35 left in the contest.

Hill completed 17 of 32 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns and Jaylen Smith rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries as No. 22 Rhode Island had 387 yards of total offense.

“You can put a lot of energy into your opening game and I think there’s a host of people who are disappointed,” Priore said. “But it will be my job to pull it together and we will move in the right direction.”

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