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Stony Brook looks to get it right against Sacred Heart this time

Sacred Heart cornerback Tim Johnson tackles Stony Brook

Sacred Heart cornerback Tim Johnson tackles Stony Brook wide receiver Ray Bolden on Sept. 24, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Stony Brook football is revamped, retooled and perhaps most importantly, refocused. It was around this time last season that Sacred Heart walked into LaValle Stadium and thumped the Seawolves 38-10. It was a loss that stung and a day that the team still hasn’t forgotten.

So, when Sacred Heart makes its return visit Saturday evening, SBU players say don’t expect a repeat.

“These guys came here last year and gave it to us, so we’re a little more on edge and focused,” Seawolves senior wide receiver Ray Bolden said. “It’s not really because it’s the first home game, but we want to give these guys what they deserve.”

Bolden said the Seawolves let the previous week’s 42-14 win over Richmond get into their heads last year.

“It was nothing they did,” Bolden said of Sacred Heart. “You can go back and watch the film. We completely, hands-down, beat ourselves. We were coming off two big wins . . . We were worried about where we should have been ranked and you could tell from kickoff that we were just trying to get in and get out and worry about what was going on after the game. That’s just not our approach for any opponent we play this year.”

These are not the same Seawolves who went 5-6 last season. They hung tough in a 31-17 loss to nationally ranked South Florida in Week I and then won their CAA opener at Rhode Island, 35-18.

“This is a completely revamped team,” said Bolden, who made 10 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns last week. “Not just the players, but our perspective as well. Outside the white lines, guys are talking about living like a football player and putting football first.”

Sacred Heart, which totaled 80 points in its first two games — victories over Stetson and Lafayette — could still present a challenge.

“They have an offensive system that’s very sound,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said. “They utilize it and believe in it. It’s a matter of us being fundamentally sound on our side of the ball and, from a game-planning standpoint, take away some of the things that they do well and make them make some adjustments. But, at the end of the day, it’s going to be our ability to play the game physical and run to the football.”

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