The Stony Brook football team in its 35-14 loss to the University of Rhode Island on Sept. 1. Stony Brook will need to beat the 2-1 Richmond Spiders on Saturday to avoid an 0-3 start. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

After big back-to-back losses, the Stony Brook football team will look to regain its footing this weekend before the season gets away from them.

This Saturday, the Seawolves (0-2, 0-1 CAA) will travel to Richmond, Va. to take on No. 24 Richmond. The Spiders are currently 2-1 after winning back-to-back games. This game will also be Richmond’s conference opener. 

If the Seawolves wish to avoid starting 0-3 for the second time in the past three seasons, the offense is going to have to make a bigger impact on the game and limit turnovers. The unit currently finds itself ranked second-to-last in the conference in yards per game (291.5) and has only scored one offensive touchdown. 

The passing game has struggled to find any traction through the first two games; it ranks last in the CAA in pass yards per game at 144.5 and pass efficiency rating at an anemic 65.99. That is nearly 40 points lower than the second-lowest. The Seawolves also currently boast the second highest interception total at five, two of which have been returned for a touchdown. 

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The Seawolves’ offense has their work cut out for them, as the potent rushing attack the program traditionally boasts is currently ravaged by injury. Star running back Ty Son Lawton is suffering from an ankle injury that he sustained on the first play of the game against UMass, and is currently “day-to-day” according to head coach Chuck Priore. Priore said during the weekly CAA coaches press conference that Lawton is unlikely to play against Richmond.

“He’s probably day-to-day at some perspective, but I don’t expect him being back with an ankle injury this weekend,” Priore said. “He’s been with the doctors. It’s nothing that’s season ending for sure, and he’s getting treated correctly.”

Priore also confirmed that Lawton’s primary backups Roland Dempster and Seba Nekhet are out for the entirety of the season, as they both recently underwent season-ending surgeries.

Jayden Cook is the next man up, as he transitions back to running back following his switch to wide receiver during the offseason. Cook has performed well this season, posting 111 yards on 22 attempts, good for an average of 5.0 yards per carry. 

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The defense will look to continue its strong play to open up the season. The unit has been headlined by outside linebacker Carthell Flowers-Lloyd, who ranks second in the conference in tackles for loss with 5.5. The Seawolves’ defense finds itself ranked fifth in total defense in the CAA. The team is allowing 27.5 points per game, but the two pick-sixes against the offense have skewed those scoring numbers.

After a Week 1 loss to Virginia, Richmond has outscored their following opponents by a score of 61-27. Controlling the Richmond passing game will be key for the Seawolves as Richmond ranks first in both passing attempts and completion percentage in the CAA. The Spiders also hold the best turnover margin in the conference at +4.

Richmond is led by transfer quarterback Reece Udinski who ranks fifth in the conference in total offense. Udinski has spread the wealth to various receivers early in the season, throwing for 761 yards and six touchdowns with only one pick in their three games. Richmond receivers Jasiah Williams, Leroy Henley and Jakob Herres all find themselves ranked in the top three in receptions per game in the CAA.

Stony Brook’s pass defense is currently the third-best unit in the conference, averaging just 170.5 passing yards allowed per game.

The two teams met last year, with Stony Brook beating down on Richmond 27-14. The game was also the Seawolves’ homecoming game. However, those were much different teams at that time. Stony Brook had its big three running backs healthy, as well as a veteran starting quarterback in Tyquell Fields. Richmond was quarterbacked by Joe Mancuso, who struggled mightily that day. 

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A win would definitely help the Seawolves salvage their season. Their last 0-3 start was during the 2020-21 season. 

 

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Matt Howlin is an assistant sports editor of The Statesman. He is a junior journalism major at Stony Brook University. He previously served as the campus news editor for The Compass Newspaper at Suffolk County Community College. Following graduation, Matt plans to follow his dream of becoming a sports journalist. He hails from Coram, N.Y. and is an avid Yankees, Giants, Islanders and Lakers fan.

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