KINGSTON, R.I. -- Just call him Tyquell “Open” Fields.
On a desperation fourth-and-6 play in the final minute, the Stony Brook quarterback avoided the rush, scrambled up the middle, veered to the outside and completed a spectacular 50-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds left to give the Seawolves a 31-27 CAA victory over the University of Rhode Island on Saturday night.
“It was supposed to be a pass play. Just trying to get a first down,” said Fields, who threw for 199 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 85 yards. “I dropped back, saw the middle of the field open up. Once I knew I had the first down, I saw a lot of open space for the cutback.”
The Seawolves (4-1 overall, 1-0 in the CAA) appeared stunned when URI’s Isiah Coulter recovered an onside kick and Aaron Parker made a leaping catch of Vito Priore’s pass for a 29-yard touchdown with 1:05 left that put URI ahead 27-24.
The Rams, who trailed 21-7 early in the fourth quarter, began their rally when Ahmere Dorsey, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, who played at Nassau CC before transferring to URI two years ago, returned a kickoff 99 yards for the third return touchdown of his Rhode Island career.
After Nick Courtney’s 29-yard field goal gave Stony Brook some breathing room at 24-14, Dorsey caught a 24-yard pass to help set up a 24-yard TD reception by Coulter that brought URI to within 24-21 with 4:47 left.
Fearing that Stony Brook would run out the clock -- Isaiah White rushed for 109 yards, Ty Son Lawton had 88 and the duo appeared to be wearing down the Rams’ defense in the fourth quarter -- URI tried an onside kick that was recovered with a timely leap by Coulter at the Seawolves’ 49. Three plays later, Parker put the Rams ahead.
He and Coulter caught five passes each and Priore threw for 295 yards, but the Rams, who had lost games this season in triple overtime and in the final minute, were about to get their hearts broken again.
Stony Brook began its game-winning drive at its 25 with exactly one minute left. “We have a history of closing out games and our kids believe in themselves,” SBU coach Chuck Priore said. “But it wasn’t great coaching out there at the end. It was players making plays. He [Fields] made a play But they made some plays, too.”
Priore said he was hoping to get into field goal range to force overtime. Even that looked unlikely when the Seawolves lined up at midfield with 26 seconds left, needing at least a 20-yard completion to set up the kick or a first down to keep the drive alive.
“We had no timeouts left. So if we got a first down, we were just going to spike the ball,” Priore said, “and try to get it a little closer.”
Fields, who completed 15 of 31 passes, did a lot more than that. He had to break only one tackle before turning the play outside and outrunning the Rhode Island defense, silencing the crowd and creating jubilation on the SBU sideline.
He also helped to erase the painful memory of a first-half gaffe that cost his team precious points. The Seawolves, who outgained URI 203-100 in the first half (and 535-321 for the game), led only 7-0 at the break because of an overzealous play by Fields.
He had driven SBU to the Rams’ 5, but on a keeper right, he was boxed in at the sideline. Instead of going down to preserve at least a field goal, he tried to hurdle a tackler. Fields got drilled in midair and fumbled, and URI recovered.
That didn’t make Fields any less daring or creative later in the evening, and he didn’t panic with the pocket collapsing around him in the final seconds. “First, I just was thinking ‘first down.’ Then once I got to the outside, I knew I was going to score,” he said.
He paused and shook his head. “I still can’t believe this happened,” he said. “It was crazy.”