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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook football loses one-point nailbiter to Richmond

Free safety Jalen Hoyle returns an interception against Richmond on Saturday, Sept. 23. Hoyle had a sack and a pick against the Spiders. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Though the Stony Brook football team’s secondary had its best game in years, it still was not enough to carry it to victory.

While fighting through the rain and wind on Saturday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves (0-4, 0-3 CAA) fell a point shy of a win against the Richmond Spiders (2-2, 1-0 CAA). Stony Brook’s defense took the ball away five times, but its offense did nothing with the extra possessions, leading to a 20-19 loss.

Richmond threw the Seawolves a curveball right before the first snap of the game when quarterback Jackson Hardy started the game instead of Kyle Wickersham. As it turned out, Wickersham suffered an oblique injury in practice on Friday, but the injury was not made public until Hardy took the field.

Stony Brook feasted on Hardy early. Three different defensive backs picked Hardy off in the first half, leading to him being benched at halftime in favor of Ashten Snelsire: Richmond’s regular third-string quarterback.

Though the rain likely hindered the Spiders’ passing game, head coach Chuck Priore was proud of the plays his secondary made.

“I’m sure the conditions stopped their pass game to some extent,” Priore said in a postgame press conference. “They performed. I’m excited about what got done.”

The Seawolves did almost nothing with the three first-half interceptions, as they turned them into three points. That came back to bite them three minutes into the second quarter when quarterback Casey Case threw an interception right into the arms of Richmond strong safety Mikey Jarmolowich.

Jarmolowich returned the pick to the one-yard line, but Stony Brook’s defensive front stuffed the Spiders on three-straight plays. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against strong safety Nick Chimienti gave Richmond another crack at the end zone, but the Seawolves stood tall and forced a field goal to make it 3-3.

After the great goal-line stand by Stony Brook, both quarterbacks exchanged long touchdown passes to even things up at 10-10. An interception in the red zone right before halftime by cornerback Quenton Porter preserved the tie for the time being.

Halfway through the third quarter, Priore aggressively called for his offense to go for it on fourth down and one. Running back Shakhi Carson was stuffed for a loss, giving the Spiders the ball back at their own 39-yard line. Richmond ran the ball on each of the next four plays, culminating in a 36-yard touchdown run right through the middle by running back Savon Smith.

After falling behind 17-10, the Seawolves went three and out to start the fourth quarter before punting it back to the Spiders. Needing a play to boost the struggling offense, cornerback JuJu Ganthier bolted from his position in the slot and picked off Snelsire with room to run. Ganthier coasted 59 yards for the touchdown, but Biscoe’s game-tying extra point attempt was blocked by Richmond strong safety Matthew Traynor to preserve the Spiders’ lead.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, defensive tackle Taylor Bolesta punched the ball out of Richmond running back Milan Howard’s hands. Defensive end Rodney Faulk recovered the fumble, setting up a drive that ended in a 31-yard field goal by Biscoe to take a 19-17 lead. The Spiders got the ball right back but failed to pick up a first down, giving the ball back to Stony Brook with 8:41 remaining in the game.

The Seawolves opted to chew the clock and play conservatively. They ran the ball on three consecutive plays and could not move the chains, running off only two minutes and 18 seconds. After getting the ball back, the Spiders drove the ball down the field with a balanced attack and took the lead for good. Snelsire engineered an 11-play, 57-yard drive that ate up just under five and a half minutes.

Snelsire went 3-for-4 passing on the drive with 29 yards. All three of his completions picked up a first down. The drive set up Richmond kicker Andrew Lopez for a 28-yard field goal and left the Seawolves with only 46 seconds to attempt a comeback.

Priore said that before Richmond’s game-winning drive, he was trying to play the field-position battle and protect the lead rather than put it at risk.

“We tried,” Priore said. “Would’ve loved to have gotten a first down; that was the objective. [We] weren’t going to put ourselves in a bad situation. We flipped the field, and we’ve got to make the stop. Simple as that.”

On the following kickoff, Lopez squibbed the ball onto the wet turf and running back Jadon Turner misplayed it, backing his offense up at its own 10-yard line. With no margin for error left, Case’s checkdown pass to running back Ross Tallarico was bobbled and intercepted by Richmond outside linebacker Donovan Hoilette to stamp Stony Brook’s loss.

All four of the Seawolves’ starting defensive backs grabbed interceptions against the Spiders. On the second drive of the game, Chimienti jumped Hardy’s wide-route throw to the right sideline for his conference-leading third pick of the year. On the next drive, free safety Jalen Hoyle — who started in place of an injured Noah Rodriguez — grabbed his first career interception with Stony Brook after Hardy’s throw floated right to him.

Porter’s interception was his first of the year, while Ganthier’s pick-six was the first takeaway of his NCAA career.

“It was a good feeling,” Ganthier said with a smile. “It felt surreal. The defense around me helped me make that play, so it felt pretty good.”

The Seawolves held the Spiders’ quarterbacks to a combined 9-of-22 passing for 112 yards, one touchdown and the aforementioned four interceptions. The run defense allowed 195 yards rushing, but it was on 47 carries. Overall, Stony Brook only allowed 307 total yards and 4.4 yards per play.

Hoyle also contributed a sack, while outside linebacker Anthony Ferrelli and defensive end Anthony Williams shared a half-sack each.

Middle linebacker Aidan Kaler led the defense with a career-high 14 total tackles. He also shared a tackle for loss along with Ferrelli, who led the team with 1.5.

Kaler said the defense’s performance was a culmination of hard work.

“Guys showed up [and] worked every single day,” Kaler said. “I think that showed … on the defensive side of the ball. We have no control on what happens on the other side [of the ball]; control your controllables. So I’m proud of our guys.”

The Seawolves’ offense struggled mightily to move the ball. They totaled only 275 yards and went 1-for-14 on third and fourth down combined. In three trips to the red zone, the team failed to score a touchdown.

Case was up and down on Saturday, completing just 11 of his 22 passes for 154 yards, one touchdown and two picks. Wide receiver Anthony Johnson led the team with 49 yards and a touchdown on three catches. It was the first touchdown of his career.

Stony Brook will now go on another two-game road trip that will begin next Saturday against the Maine Black Bears. The Black Bears are 0-4 and 0-2 in conference play after losing 28-3 to No. 5/5 William & Mary on Saturday. 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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