SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University football team opens its 2014 season on Thursday night at LaValle Stadium against Stony Brook. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
BULLDOGS BACK ON WOON
Fans can listen to Thursday’s game and all 11 games this season on WOON 1240 and onworldwide.com. Tristan Hobbes is back for his third season as the play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs and will be joined by former Bulldog assistant Tim Lynch.
LAST SEASON AGAINST THE SEAWOLVES
Bryant put up one heckuva fight against Stony Brook last season at LaValle Stadium, eventually falling 21-13 on Oct. 5 in front of record-crowd of 11,224. The Bulldogs tied the game at 7-7 and nearly tied it at 14-all but missed the extra point. After Stony Brook answered with a touchdown of its own, the Bulldogs drove the ball inside Seawolves territory but could not convert on a fourth-down attempt. The teams were nearly even in first downs last season, with Stony Brook holding the edge 16-14. The Seawolves also outgained the Bulldogs 379-285 but Bryant was able to rush for 157 yards. Fifth-year senior Michael Perry rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries and junior Chad Ward caught three passes for 30 yards.
SCOUTING THE SEAWOLVES
Stony Brook enters the 2014 season after going 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the CAA a year ago. It was the Seawolves’ first season in the CAA after moving from the Big South. This season, Stony Brook has been selected to finish ninth in preseason coaches poll. The Seawolves return six starters on offense and seven on defense.
Offensively, the Seawolves will have a new starting quarterback as Syracuse transfer John Kinder won the starting job in camp. Kinder was the 2009 New York State Class A Player of the Year after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 36 touchdowns. Starting running back Marcus Coker will miss the game on Thursday but Tyler Fredericks had success against the Bulldogs last season, rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Coxson (31rec, 544yds) is the teams top returning receiver.
Defensively, the Seawolves will welcome back a healthy defensive secondary in 2014. Last season, they allowed 22 points per game and 325 yards per game. This season, leading tacklers Christian Ricard (91tkls) and Naim Cheeseboro (69tkls, 5.5tfls) return. They also welcome back corner back Davonte Anderson from an injury and linebacker Rahim Cassell, a transfer from Oregon.
A LOOK AT THE BULLDOGS
Bryant lost a good deal to graduation but enters the 2014 season with high hopes thanks to a great deal of experience. On offense, junior Chad Ward will anchor a deep receiving corps and fifth-year senior Michael Perry and junior Paul Canevari and Ricardo McCray give the Black and Gold a three-head monster at running back. Defense might be the Bulldogs biggest strength entering the season as they return two starters at defensive end, all three starting linebackers and three starters in the secondary. Bryant’s special teams unit also returns three veteran kickers in Tom Alberti, Sam Sammons and Dom Kozlowski.
COVITZ LOOKS TO CAP HISTORIC CAREER
Senior Jeff Covitz has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the NEC and enters his final season in Smithfield with the opportunity to be one of the best in Bryant history. Covitz set the single season and career record for tackles for a loss last season with 20.5 and 43.0, respectively. He also his eyes set on the sack record, needing just 1.5 to tie the mark set by Mark Gunther. Covitz’s 132 career tackles have him just outside of the top 10 and an average year will land him in the top eight all time.
EASTON TAKES REIGNS AT QUARTERBACK
Sophomore transfer Dalton Easton has been named the starting quarterback for the season opener against Stony Brook. Easton transferred to Bryant from Akron in January and won the starting nod during training camp. A versatile QB, Easton played in just one game during his career at Akron but was a standout at Gulliver Prep in Florida, leading Dade County in passing as a senior.