Stony Brook could look to small victories, like a handful of forced fumbles and a onetime lead during the first quarter against a historically strong team, as reinforcement that its growing program has a future. But there's little glamour in the end result – the Seawolves' 59-14 loss to South Florida in Saturday night's season opener in Tampa.
With USF up 7-0 on an early 59-yard touchdown pass, Stony Brook's Michael Coulter connected with Jordan Gush for a 31-yard reception that paved the way for Edwin Gowins to score on a three-yard run that tied the game with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
A few minutes later Coulter found Brock Jackolski for a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave Stony Brook a 14-7 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter. But USF answered right back with an eight-play, 70-yard drive capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels to tie the score at 14 at the end of the first.
Stony Brook couldn't muster much offense after that. Mistakes like Coulter's four interceptions, combined with injuries to starting cornerbacks Donald Portal (knee) and Al-Majid Hutchins (shoulder), solidified the Seawolves' downfall.
Yet Coach Chuck Priore wasn't overly disappointed in the team's performance against USF, its first-ever Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
"I thought we showed a lot of poise," Priore said. "But we made a few mistakes and they capitalized. With an opponent like South Florida, you can't make too many mistakes. Overall, I'm really proud of how we competed. I think our guys represented Stony Brook well."
News & Notes: Gowins' score was his 21st career touchdown; one more will land him in second place in Stony Brook history... Coulter finished the game 9-for-21 with 112 yards, four interceptions and one sack... Miguel Maysonet picked up 72 yards on 11 carries in his first performance as a Seawolf since transferring from Hofstra... Attendance at Raymond James Stadium was reported at 40,210, the largest crowd to ever watch a Stony Brook football game.