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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Kenner runs for three touchdowns in loss to Spiders

The Stony Brook football team got three rushing touchdowns from junior James Kenner but was unable to slow down the Richmond passing attack in their 39-31 loss on Saturday afternoon. The Seawolves dropped their fifth straight conference game, and are now 3-6 overall on the season.

Stony Brook had already been ravaged by injuries this season,and on Saturday was forced to play without wide receiver Malcolm Eugene, running back Tyler Fredericks, defensive back Max Martinez, linebacker Grant Nakwaasah and defensive back Naim Cheeseboro.

“I thought our kids, based on our availabilities of players, played really hard,” head coach Chuck Priore said. “They came out and gave it their best shot, but unfortunately they didn’t have enough in the tank at the end to make a difference.”

With the Seawolves left thin in the backfield, Kenner was given almost all of the carries at running back. He was up to the challenge, rushing for 136 yards on 32 attempts, and averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

But while the offense came up big, delivering a season high in points, the defense was unable to stop Spiders’ quarterback Michael Strauss. Strauss threw for 28-of-38, for 360 yards, and five touchdowns.

Where the Richmond offense did their most damage was on third down. The Spiders went 12-of-15 on third down attempts, and were a perfect 5-of-5 on fourth quarter third down situations.

“We knew (Strauss) was a good player going in,” Priore said. “We unfortunately couldn’t do some of the things we wanted to do defensively due to injuries going in.”

The Seawolves’ problem of finishing games would once again be an issue, as Richmond would go on a 21-3 run over the final 22:03 of the game.

First with 5:21 left in the third, Strauss would find receiver Ben Edwards for a touchdown pass to bring his team within three. Edwards was near unstoppable in the game, making 13 catches for 150 yards.

After a SBU field goal, the Spiders would put together a eight play, 73-yard drive, that was capped off by Strauss finding wideout Stephen Barnette for a 13-yard touchdown strike. After the extra point Richmond held a 32-31 lead.

The Seawolves defense would very quickly be forced back on the field, after a three-and-out by the team’s offense. The Spiders would then string together an 11-play, 62-yard possession, in which Strauss would complete 3-of-3 third down passing attempts. The last of those attempts would be a touchdown pass to receiver Rashad Ponder, to put the game out of reach with 1:36 remaining.

Richmond dominated possession time in the fourth, controlling the ball for 11:25, compared to the Seawolves’ 3:35. Stony Brook gave up a season high in points allowed (39) and passing yards against (360) in Saturday’s game.

“I felt that we were hungry, and that we wanted to win,” Kenner said. “It always sucks losing, but things happen, and we fought well.”

Strauss had success passing the ball on third down from his team’s first drive of the game, as he  converted on two different third and 10 situations, to get his team deep in Stony Brook territory. The Spiders would not score on the drive, but kicker Brandon Jordi would nail a 20-yard field goal attempt to give his team a 3-0 advantage.

On the ensuing Seawolves drive, a pass attempt by senior quarterback Lyle Negron would go off the hands off receiver Jahrie Level, and get picked off by Richmond’s Eric Wright. Wright would run 10 yards before being brought down by his facemask by Level, resulting in a penalty.

The 15-yard infraction gave the Spiders the ball at SBU’s 15, and on the first play of the drive Strauss found running back Seth Fisher wide open over the middle for a touchdown.

On Stony Brook’s next drive Negron had another pass picked off, but it would be negated thanks to a holding penalty by Richmond’s Wayne Pettus. Later in the drive, the Seawolves would find the end zone on a 22-yard rush by Kenner to make it a 10-7 game.

With 6:08 left in the second quarter, Strauss would strike again, this time with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Edwards. A successful two-point conversion would then give the team an 18-7 advantage.

Stony Brook would respond before the end of the half, with a 12 play, 73-yard drive, that would be finished off by a one-yard Kenner touchdown rush, to make it just a four-point game going into the half.

Early in the third quarter it was more of the same for the Seawolves, with Kenner leading his team downfield in a hurry. The third year back broke off a 25-yard rush, followed by a 17-yard run to get his team near the Richmond goal line.

Then with 9:58 left in the third, Kenner once again found the end zone, delivering a two-yard touchdown run, to give SBU a 21-18 lead.

The Seawolves would start there next drive on the Spiders’ 20-yard line, after a failed Joe Gulli Jr. punt attempt. They would take advantage of the fortunate field position, as Negron found tight end Will Tye for a 19-yard connection, to give Stony Brook a 10-point lead with 7:03 remaining in the third.

But things would go downhill for SBU from this point on, as Strauss took over the game, by finding open receivers over and over again. Stony Brook’s pass defense had been one of the best in the CAA so far this year, but the effects of the multiple injuries in the secondary began to show.

“You go into the week, and three guys were playing different positions than they normally play,” coach Priore said. “We had limited backups, and when you try to personal them, you don’t have the answers that you normally have.”

Senior defensive back Winston Longdon had a career-high 10 tackles in the game, but was forced to leave the game early in the third with a broken jaw. This forced senior defensive back Ivan May into action, who coach Priore said was playing at about 65 percent health.

Receiver Jahrie Level, who had three catches for 58 yards in the game, suffered a season ending hamstring injury during the second half.

Despite the poor finish, Coach Priore was pleased with the effort his club put forth with such limited personal.

“I’m proud of what we did, and we’re gonna get up off the floor, and have fun on Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and go have a game next week,” coach Priore said.

Stony Brook will play their final road game of the year when they take on CAA opponent James Madison this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.


Junior James Kenner's three rushing touchdowns were not enough to stave off Richmond in the 39-31 loss. Photo by Jisoo Hwang
Junior James Kenner’s three rushing touchdowns were not enough to stave off Richmond in the 39-31 loss. Photo by Jisoo Hwang
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