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Stony Brook football team completely overmatched at No. 22/24 Richmond

Running back Jayden Cook in Stony Brook football’s season opener against Rhode Island. Cook left the game with an injury on Saturday as the Seawolves were blown out by Richmond. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

A second-quarter meltdown in all three phases led the Stony Brook football team to its third straight loss to open the season.

It was a tough trip to Virginia for the Seawolves (0-3, 0-2 CAA), as they were blown out on Saturday by the Richmond Spiders 51-7. After a quick start for Stony Brook, the team was dissected by Richmond quarterback Drew Udinski and the rest of his passing offense.

The Seawolves started the game in ideal fashion, as the defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs on the Spiders. A third-down sack by defensive end Eric Black forced a short punt, giving the Seawolves the ball back at their own 48-yard line. Later on the drive, quarterback Daron Bryden found wide receiver Khalil Newton on an out-route, who then broke the tackle and scored a 38-yard touchdown. It was the first touchdown pass of Bryden’s NCAA career.

“What happened in the first quarter was what we anticipated,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “It was going to be a hard battle. And then some things didn’t go our way; maybe self-inflicted.”

It only went downhill after that for Stony Brook. Later in the quarter, a short punt by punter Clayton Taylor set Richmond up with good field position. Udinski marched the Richmond offense right down the field and tied the game with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jasiah Williams. 

All hell broke loose in the second quarter, starting with another three-and-out forced by Richmond. Another short punt by Taylor set Richmond up at their own 41, and Udinski sliced and diced through the Seawolves’ defense. Udinski spread the ball around to four different receivers and gave Richmond the lead with a touchdown pass to tight end Connor Deveney. On the next series, Udinski continued Richmond’s scoring run with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Leroy Henley Jr. 

Now trailing 21-7, Stony Brook turned to quarterback Josh Zamot, who fumbled the snap on the first play from scrimmage. Richmond recovered and then capitalized on the turnover, as Udinski fired a 20-yard touchdown right down the middle of the field to Henley Jr, making it 28-7. After throwing for touchdowns on consecutive plays from scrimmage, Udinski had four first-half touchdown passes.

On Stony Brook’s next series, Bryden threw an errant pass behind his receiver and was picked off by cornerback Tyrek Funderburk. Funderburk returned the interception for a touchdown, making it the third straight week that a Seawolf quarterback had thrown a pick six.

The game was over at the half, with Stony Brook trailing 35-7. However, that did not stop Richmond from teeing off on the Seawolves. The first play of the second half resulted in another Funderburk interception of Bryden on an underthrown deep pass. Later in the quarter Udinski swung a pass to running back Savon Smith, who then outraced the Seawolves defense down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown. 

Halfway through the next drive, Richmond turned to backup quarterback Kyle Wickersham, who promptly threw a touchdown on the first pass attempt of his career. Wickersham’s touchdown pass went to wide receiver Ja’Vion Griffin, which was also the first touchdown reception of his career.

In the fourth quarter, Richmond linebacker Jared Joseph capped the scoring with a sack in the end zone for a two-point safety on Zamot. Stony Brook made a bid for another scoring drive inside of the final two minutes, but kicker Angelo Guglielmello missed a 35-yard field goal.

Richmond’s quick, intermediate passing game overpowered Stony Brook. Udinski utilized that quick release very effectively, completing 35 of his 42 passes for 357 yards and five touchdowns. Williams posted the first 100-yard game of his NCAA career, with 86 of his 112 yards coming after the catch. Overall, Richmond threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns, with 234 yards coming after the catch. Nine different receivers caught a pass for the Spiders.

“We knew [Richmond] were a good offense,” Priore said. “They’ve got an exceptional quarterback. You also have to do your part offensively. You can’t place the statistical blame on the defense. Our defense played a lot of reps.”

There were no positives to take away for the Stony Brook offense. The injury bug continued to bite, as running backs Jayden Cook and Jadon Turner both left the game with injuries and did not return. All Stony Brook had left were running backs Ross Tallarico and Makhai Jinks. Tallarico was their sixth-string running back, while Jinks is a converted linebacker.

The passing game was brutal once again. Quarterback Drew Guttieri made his season debut in the second half, but was not able to flip the script. Between three quarterbacks, Stony Brook’s offense completed just four of their 15 passes for 68 yards, with the one touchdown and two picks. They were lucky that it was just two picks, as Funderburk also dropped three potential interceptions, preventing what could have been a historic day for himself. 

The Seawolves only netted 154 total yards of offense, while surrendering 434 yards. The offense only picked up seven first downs, while the defense allowed 24. 

Stony Brook was also dominated situationally. On third down, Stony Brook was 2-for-11, while Richmond was 7-for-15. Stony Brook failed in their only redzone trip, while Richmond scored a touchdown in all five trips.

The Seawolves will look to get something going next week, as they return home to host No. 14 William & Mary. The Tribe are currently 3-1 and 0-1 in the CAA after blowing a big lead to Elon, who was receiving votes in this past week’s FCS Poll. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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