The Stony Brook football team produced a season-high six turnovers — four fumbles and two interceptions — in its 27-14 slaughtering of the Richmond Spiders this past weekend, and could have had two more picks if not for drops by their defensive backs.
Even more impressively, they allowed the Spiders to convert just two of their 13 third downs, holding them scoreless until the third quarter.
The Seawolves (3-5, 2-3 CAA) are quietly emerging as a legitimate force on defense after allowing 27 points in each of their first two conference matchups. They showed their potential weeks ago by holding then-No. 4 Oregon to 17 points in the first half of their Sept. 18 matchup. Now, in its last three games, Stony Brook has allowed an average of 17 points and 311 total yards.
The defensive line was a standout on Saturday. The Seawolves sacked Richmond quarterback Joe Mancuso twice and held the Spiders to 106 rushing yards — the lowest total Stony Brook has allowed against a conference opponent this season. They are allowing an average of 124.3 rushing yards per game, good for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
But the Seawolves’ dropped interceptions cost their secondary on the stat sheet. Richmond’s 217 passing yards were well above their season average and Mancuso did not look fully healthy coming off a broken right index finger that cost him four weeks.
Graduate defensive back Carthell Flowers-Lloyd led the secondary with two forced fumbles and 14 total tackles, the most by a Stony Brook player this year. Eight of those were solo tackles, earning him CAA Defensive Player of the Week honors and giving him the second-most solo tackles in the conference.
Stony Brook’s offense looked better than it has all season — at least in the first half. The homecoming crowd went into a frenzy when Stony Brook jogged into the locker room with a 20-0 halftime lead, but the Seawolves produced just seven points the rest of the way.
Graduate quarterback Tyquell Fields finished with 226 yards on 20-for-35 passing and threw two touchdowns for the first time this year. He added a rushing score in the fourth quarter that gave him six on the season — tied for second-most in the CAA by any player, behind only redshirt junior running back Ty Son Lawton’s eight.
Fields, though, struggled at times to connect with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Shawn Harris Jr. Harris was wide open downfield on Stony Brook’s first play from scrimmage, but Fields instead checked the ball down for a four-yard gain. Harris was isolated again in the fourth quarter for what almost certainly would have been a touchdown, but Fields underthrew him and the drive ended in a three-and-out.
Harris finished with three receptions for 71 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown that put Stony Brook up 10-0 in the first quarter.
If not for an interception by redshirt senior defensive back Randy Pringle late in the fourth quarter, Richmond could have cut the score to 27-21, taking advantage of the way the Stony Brook offense slowed down since going up by 20.
Lawton finished with 51 yards on 22 carries — a season-worst 2.3 yards per attempt — and failed to reach the end zone for only the second time this year. Granted, he received little help from an offensive line that often allowed Richmond to initiate first contact behind the line of scrimmage.
Lawton now has 787 rushing yards on the season, nearly 200 more than anyone else in the CAA. That’s already his career-high, and with three games left to go, he is on pace to eclipse 1,000 yards.
The Seawolves, now winners of two in a row, have a bye week this coming Saturday before taking the long trip up to Maine on Nov. 6 as they attempt to end the season on a high note.