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Toledo vs. Stony Brook Prediction & Preview
Date: Thursday, September 3
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Glass Bowl
Toledo will face off against FCS member Stony Brook in their season opener Thursday evening. Stony Brook looks to improve on their 5-7 mark from the 2014 season, while Toledo plans to get off to a hot start for what seems to be a season of high hopes. History proves to be on the Rockets’ side for this matchup; Toledo hasn’t lost to an FCS/DII football team since 1988. That trend looks to stay the same this year, but will face a tough challenge.
Stony Brook returns quarterback Conor Bedarski, who will look to lead the Seawolves to a victory, while also trying to improve on his 53 percent completion rate from last year. Stony Brook also returns running back Stacy Bedell, who spent some time at UMass before transferring. You can read up more on the Rockets opponents here. These two offensive stars will have to be on their game if Stony Brook wants any chance of upsetting Toledo. Bedell will have a tough time against the Rockets though. Last season, Toledo gave up a measly 120.5 rushing yards per game. Only twice last season did the Rockets surrender 100+ rushing yards to a single rusher. However, on the flipside of the defense, Toledo gave up over 350 passing yards five times last season and three of those were over 400 yards. So if the Seawolves have any chance to steal this game, Bedarski better have taken notes.
Stony Brook’s claim to fame last season was coming really, really close to beating UConn, losing a 19-16 heartbreaker. But that was the theme for the season – close calls. The Seawolves lost five games by a touchdown or less, and two games by ten – they were in every game, and this year’s team is stronger.
Why Stony Brook Will Win
The defense that loaded up last year against the run gets several key parts back. Pass rushing terror Victor Ochi and his 11 sacks return on one end, while the linebacking corps should be a rock throughout the season around Trokon-Rahim Cassell on the inside. The Seawolves were third in the FCS against the run, and they should be that good again.
Why Toledo Will Win
The Stony Brook offense still needs work. Toledo’s defense was hardly a rock last year, getting torched by anyone who wanted to throw the forward pass, but eight starters return including everyone in the secondary. Fortunately, the Seawolves are going to struggle to put points on the board and don’t have much of a passing attack.
Player Who Matters
The Rockets need this game to ramp up the run defense, and it starts with the tackle combination of Treyvon Hester and Orion Jones. Hester is a big 300-pounder who can get behind the line, while Jones needs to be an anchor on the nose. With Arkansas coming up next, these two need to gear up.