Stony Brook down! This was a match up of two great defenses and two great running backs. But in the end, William & Mary’s defense dominated en route to a 21-0 shut out against a very good Stony Brook team.
Game Summary: The first quarter of the game saw the Tribe jump out to an early 7-0 lead. On the first drive of the game, a balanced William & Mary attack turned in an 8 yard Steve Cluley to Andrew Caskin touchdown pass. To say that true sophomore tight end Andrew Caskin has been very good so far this season would truly be an understatement. Caskin now has 102 yards and two touchdowns through just three games this season from the tight end position.
In the second quarter, the William & Mary offense struck again, this time on a 28 yard touchdown scamper by “backup” running back Kendell Anderson. Anderson bobbled the ball before coming down with it and running through an SBU defender to paydirt–an incredible play to behold. Before we go any further, you must know that Kendell was far and away the best player on the field in this game. Every time he touched the ball, Tribe fans knew something electric was going to happen. This didn’t let up in the second half, as Anderson would go on to average an eye-popping 10.1 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, and by the end of second quarter, William & Mary’s defense had more than established itself. The Tribe forced FOUR punts on four Stony Brook offensive possessions. The unit, minus two starting linebackers and one starting cornerback, played exceptionally well.
This was especially apparent when W&M was able to hold Stony Brook’s star running back Stacey Bedell in check throughout the first half, as Bedell finished with just 34 yards on the day before succumbing to injury. It also didn’t hurt that captain linebacker Luke Rhodes was all over the field, tackling Seawolves, putting the quarterback on his back, and batting balls down at the line of scrimmage.
The third quarter included more Kendell Anderson fireworks and defensive dominance from the Tribe–as fans were treated to SBU punt, after punt, after punt. However, the W&M offense was also held scoreless. Kicker Nick Dorka had a chance to tack on points, but missed early in the third quarter on a 32-yard field goal attempt, which was the result of a poor snap out from center. This was somewhat surprising given the Tribe’s recent dominance in kicking/punting, but hey, they’re human after all.
Early in the 4th quarter, Stony Brook’s offense was finally on the move. That was until senior safety Jared Velasquez came down with a red zone interception deep in Tribe territory, doing what he does best, and halting Stony Brook’s come back attempt. On the very next drive, Kendell Anderson would break free for a FIFTY NINE yard touchdown scamper, capping the best game of his collegiate career, and sealing Stony Brook’s fate. The game would end 21-0.
The Good: To drive this point home, the Tribe SHUT OUT Stony Brook. To be fair, the Seawolves were without their best player, running back Stacey Bedell, for the majority of the second half after he went down with injury, but W&M contained him even when he was on the field. The Tribe held Stony Brook’s offense to a meager 167 total yards of offense and forced one interception. To compare, W&M finished with 466 yards of total offense. In addition to Rhodes, impressive performances by freshman linebacker Josh Dulaney (6 tackles), DT Tyler Claytor (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks), and CB Trey Reed (6 tackles) sealed the Tribe’s home opening victory.
William & Mary is now ranked #7 nationally in scoring defense, as opponents average a mere 14 points per game against the Tribe. In the same vein, the Tribe ranks #14 nationally in total defense, as opponents average just 290.7 yards per game. On the other side of the ball, the Green and Gold ranks #14 nationally in total offense, averaging 440 yards per game. The Green and Gold also ranks #23 in rushing, averaging 213 yards per game. These are incredibly impressive numbers from this offense, which has vastly improved from just a season ago.
The Bad: There really isn’t much to dislike here. We would have liked to see the offense score more than one touchdown in a quarter, but the weather may have had a say in that. It was raining almost the entirety of the game, the field was water logged, and the Tribe chose to look to the ground game in this one. Also, the aforementioned botched snap that led to Nick Dorka‘s miss is a little bit of a head scratcher, but he and Hunter Windmuller have been so good so far this year that we can’t knock them for that. Let’s just blame the snapper’s wet hands. Sounds good.
Top Performers [pictures via tribeathletics.com]
Injury Update: Linebackers Ian Haislip and Zach Fetters were again out in this one, having sustained injuries against Virginia. In their stead, redshirt freshman linebacker Josh Dulaney shined. He was included in our Top Performers of the week, and more than deserved the honor. If Dulaney can keep it up, we don’t see why he can’t see the field more every week, even if Haislip and Fetters return. And let’s not forget the interception he had against UVA two games ago!
Offensive lineman Chris Durant returned to action for the Tribe against Stony Brook. He appeared a little rusty at the beginning of the game, racking up a couple penalties. However, he seemed to have settled in as the game went on and performed well. Starting cornerback Aaron Swinton remains out with injury.
Around the CAA: Delaware got trounced by UNC, Towson surprisingly lost to Elon, and JMU beat FBS Southern Methodist in an insane shootout thriller. JMU and William & Mary seem to be the cream of the crop in this year’s CAA, but let’s not rule out Richmond, Villanova, and New Hampshire just yet. The Tribe can’t afford any hiccups against tough competition, as the league is strong again this year.
CAA Standings: Let’s just say, the October 31st Halloween day matchup between William & Mary and James Madison is circled in bold on the calendar. JMU has the #1 offense in the entire FCS, and William & Mary has one of the top defenses. It’ll be worth monitoring the Dukes in the coming weeks, as they look to be the class of the conference right now.
Look Ahead: It was a very impressive opening CAA win for the Tribe this week. Stony Brook is a very strong contender, with one of the top defenses and running backs in the league. William & Mary was able to shut them down completely on offense, and come away with the victory. The Tribe will be on the road at Delaware next week, looking to propel itself higher up the CAA ranking board. Roll Tribe.