With their 39-32 defeat of St. Bonaventure, Stony Brook took control of the Empire DI college conference.
Stony Brook were helped to their lofty perch by Syracuse, which upset Brockport 15-10 to hand them their first loss of the season.
Now 6-0, and with a game in hand over Brockport, Stony Brook can clinch 1st this weekend, as they play two games (one a makeup of a postponement), and if they win with bonus points, the November 9 game between Brockport and Stony Brook will be for pride only.
“It was a really physical game,” said Stony Brook fullback Jonathan Feldman of the St. Bonaventure game. “They are a really good side, better than last year. It’s great playing them because you always know what you’re going to get – a really tough, grueling game.”
St. Bonaventure dominated the first half and led 22-10 at halftime. They put Stony Brook on the back foot with a series of one-balls and pick-and-jams through the forwards. However, in the second half, with the wind behind them, the Stony Brook backs unloaded. Feldman was able to slot into the backline, and sophomore wing Bryan Michel was the beneficiary of the overloads, scoring two tries.
Up front prop Jimmy Sheridan was once again a force, and center Shane Wend “had a monster game,” said Feldman, who scored a try himself.
Flyhalf Patrick Abelein did well in a battle with St. Bonvanture outside half Kevin McCorry, taking over the league lead in points.
“Kevin is a great player and often controls the game with his boot,” said Feldman. “But PJ did a great job. But it was a team win, and we had a laser-like focus on this game. It was huge for us.”
And Syracuse helped, too. Tries from scrumhalf Duane So and Sam Abbanat, with a conversion and a penalty from lock Jack Faure was enough for ‘Cuse to defeat Brockport, who managed tries from prop Tyrell Wilson and fullback Matt Thompson, but no more.
This weekend, Brockport hosts 4-3 Buffalo, and needs a bonus-point win to put pressure on Stony Brook. Meanwhile, Stony Brook plays King’s Point on Friday, a game rescheduled thanks to the government shutdown, and then on Saturday Iona visits Long Island. The US Merchant Marine Academy (King’s Point) is 5-1, and so won’t be a walkover. But should Stony Brook win with two bonus points, they won’t be caught.