Despite the Stony Brook football team’s poor season, homecoming weekend offered an explosive infusion of enthusiasm and excitement with Stony Brook’s decisive 27-14 triumph over the Richmond Spiders on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Following the team’s worst start in 13 years, Stony Brook (3-5, 2-3 CAA) continued its momentum from last week’s blowout upset against then-No. 14 Delaware to win its second straight. Richmond (2-5, 0-4 CAA) dropped its fifth game in a row despite entering with a defense that averaged only 340.7 yards and 18.5 points allowed per game.
“If you play the game physically, you pursue the ball and you run to the ball, those things will happen,” head coach Chuck Priore said about the six takeaways in a postgame press conference. “Kids were in good positions, made physical hits and it turned out to be a positive thing.”
Stony Brook’s first takeaway came on a kickoff immediately after the Seawolves went up 3-0 on redshirt sophomore kicker Angelo Guglielmello’s first successful field goal of the year, a 35-yarder. Senior defensive back Akeal Lalaind forced and recovered the fumble on Richmond’s return, setting the Seawolves up at the Spiders’ 27-yard line.
One play later, graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields threw a deep ball to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Shawn Harris Jr., who bobbled and caught it in the end zone, and in a matter of 14 seconds, Stony Brook was up 10-0.
Richmond started graduate quarterback Joe Mancuso, making his return from a broken right index finger. The Seawolves put the cherry on top of their dominant first quarter with an interception from senior defensive back Randy Pringle, the first of his career. It snapped a five-game interception drought for the Stony Brook defense, and Stony Brook capitalized with Guglielmello’s second 35-yard field goal of the afternoon.
“It just feels unreal,” Pringle said. “I had to show off for my family, for my friends. It just couldn’t be in a better situation.”
When Stony Brook got the ball back, Fields found Harris for a 38-yard strike to put the Seawolves in the red zone. A play-action pass saw Fields find redshirt sophomore tight end Tyler Devera stroll into the end zone to go up 20-0 early in the second quarter. Devera missed the last four games with an injury.
“It’s definitely a topic of conversation before the game, that this is our last homecoming,” Fields said. “We’ve got to win, we’ve got to go out with a bang. That’s exactly what we did, so I’m very happy about that.”
Fields started the game 14-for-18 for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Stony Brook recovered its third turnover of the afternoon soon after with redshirt junior defensive lineman Ryan Lopez grabbing a fumble forced by graduate defensive back Carthell Flowers-Lloyd.
In a scary moment, Fields suffered a calf injury midway through the third quarter and had to be helped off the field. Richmond had just scored to cut the lead to 20-7 and would get the ball back. For the first time all night, it felt like things might not be going the Seawolves’ way.
However, Flowers-Lloyd forced his second fumble of the game on a strip-sack of Mancuso, recovered by redshirt junior defensive lineman Makye Smith. Flowers-Lloyd also led the team with a career-high 14 tackles.
“I probably won’t be able to know exactly what it is until tomorrow,” Fields said about the injury. “It was definitely a scare for me, especially because I was more disappointed potentially not being able to help my team pull this win off.”
Fields came back in without missing a snap and capped off the Seawolves’ next drive by running it in himself to extend Stony Brook’s lead back to 20.
Richmond’s fifth turnover initially looked to be a big 20-yard pass play, but redshirt sophomore defensive back Jordan Jackson forced the ball out to be recovered by redshirt junior defensive back Calique Cato-Jacobs. Stony Brook gave the ball back when Fields was intercepted, allowing Richmond to drive down the field and make it 27-14.
The Spiders threatened to cut it to a one-score game, but Pringle intercepted Mancuso in the end zone for his second pick of the game, year and career.
“My favorite was the second one because that was a more challenging interception that I had to snag it out of the air,” Pringle said.
Stony Brook’s six takeaways were the most the Seawolves had recorded since 2011 when six takeaways helped them rout Gardner Webb 76-28. Pringle’s multi-interception game was the first since Tyrice Beverette in 2016.
While redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton, the conference’s leading rusher, was held to just 51 yards on 22 carries, Fields had his fourth 200-yard passing game of the season.
“We knew that part of the game would be tough,” Priore said about Richmond’s run defense. “We knew we had to come up with some other things and a lot of the game had to be on our quarterback.”
The Seawolves will have a week off before traveling to the frigid tundras of Maine (3-4, 2-3 CAA) on Nov. 6 at 12 p.m. to try and climb closer to .500.
“The confidence is definitely there,” Fields said. “Even when we were losing, it was never a losing mentality. In those losses, some plays didn’t go our way. They were tough close losses. I just feel like now, we’re finishing better.”