Thursday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. ESPN3
STONY BROOK SEAWOLVES
► The Seawolves hail from Stony Brook, NY (about 60 miles east of Manhatten) and are an FCS (Football Championship Series) team. They are currently part of the 11-member Colonial Athletic Association. Their mascot is Wolfie the Seawolf.
► Stony Brook is coming of a 5-7 season and broke even (4-4) in conference play following a season-ending loss to Albany last November. The Seawolves, in fact, lost three of their last four games and were 1-4 to start the campaign.
► Asked about the season opener against an FBS team such as Toledo, Priore said,”The good part is the kids get really excited for this game. It is their opportunity to really showcase their talent on the next level. The challenges, for this Thursday for us, are Toledo is a great program and perennial successful program in the MAC and have won bowl games and are picked to win their side of the MAC this year. They are tremendously athletic, but that is an exciting part too. You want to go on the field and play well and be challenged.”
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► Senior quarterback Conor Bednarski started eight games in 2014, completing 52.9 percent of his 208 passes with nine TDs and seven interceptions. Redshirt freshman Joe Carbone is listed as his backup on the two-deep.
► SBU lost its top two receivers, who accounted for all 11 Sea Wolves TD receptions. Donavin Washington (a 5-9, 185-pound sophomore) returns after finishing third with 29 catches for 332 yards.
► Junior Stacey Bedel (5-9, 195) is back. He averaged 97.3 ypg rushing last year, netting a total of 1,070 yards on 201 attempts.
► Free safety Naim Cheeseboro (6-1, 210, Sr) was second on the team in tackles (76) last year. He also had two interceptions. Cheeseboro and DL Victor Ochi (57 stops, league-best 11.0 sacks and 16.5 TFL) were both on the preseason All-CAA team selected by head coaches and SIDs.
► Stony Brook finished third among FCS teams in total defense.
► This is the first meeting against Toledo.
► Stony Brook is 1-6 against FBS teams since 2010. The lone victory came against Army in 2012 (23-3). It twice played Buffalo during that span, once losing 35-7 in 2011 and two years later falling to the Bulls in overtime, 26-23.
► UT announced earlier this week that standout running back Kareem Hunt and defensive end Allen Covington would be suspended for the first two games of the season. That will keep them out of the opener against Stony Book, and FCS team, Thursday and also matchup against SEC foe Arkansas (No. 18) Sept. 12. Hunt led the MAC in rushing with 1,631 yards last year. Covington is a senior and two year starter. Sophomore Terry Swanson (5-10, 202) could get the start. He had 732 yards rushing last year. Senior Kennan Gibbs is a possible fit for Covington along the D-line.
► While the Rockets are loaded at skill positions, there has been quite a turnover on the offensive line. Getting that unit in working order as quickly as possible is one of the challenges facing UT.
► Toledo has several options at quarterback. Senior Phillip Ely, whose 2014 season was cut short by an ACL injury, figures to get the opening call. Junior Logan Woodside has proven capable, as well, and is a very nice option. He completed 62.6 percent of his passes last year, totaling 2,272 yards with 19 TDs and eight INTs.
► Toledo allowed 291.7 ypg through the air last year (last, MAC). Unlike the offensive side, UT has experience up front on defense and will be looking to improve on pass defense numbers with some good pressure. Defensive tackles Orion Jones and Treyvon Hester earned All MAC Second Team honors last year.
► Injuries/Illness have taken their toll on the Rockets secondary in recent years. There is now considerable experience in the unit, and Campbell expects improvement if the secondary can stay relatively healthy.
► Replacing linebackers Junior Sylvestre (All-MAC First Team) and Ray Bush are important keys for defensive success – an important ingredient for championship teams.
► Placekicker Jeremiah Detmer is gone. Freshman Jameson Vest could have an edge over sophomore Samuel Vulcelich to start the season. With the kind of offense Toledo puts on the field, there should be plenty of kicking opportunities – at least PATs.