Stony Brook University football coach Chuck Priore is putting a unique spin on Saturday’s home game against second-ranked Richmond: Priore is calling it a playoff game.
“You wanted to be in the playoffs, you’re in the playoffs,’’ Priore told his team. “ You’re in the playoffs the third week of the year. Because they’re the No. 2 team. If you want to get to the semifinals and you’re one of the four teams, you’re in the semifinal. So now you have to win the game.’’
Stony Brook (1-1) lost to Temple, an FBS program, in Week 2. Despite Richmond’s national ranking, Priore expects a better result in the Seawolves’ first Colonial Athletic Association game.
“I think it’s a good time to play,” he said. “You’ve got a couple of scenarios. We just played against great speed, physical team. Two weeks in a row, these teams play the game hard both sides of the ball. We’re ready for the speed of the game, we’re ready for the physicality which the best teams are going to bring.”
Former Floyd High School star running back Stacey Bedell, who along with everyone else was practically stopped cold against Temple, is taking a bring-’em-on attitude. “I feel us playing against two good defenses the first two games is definitely going to have us ready when we play Richmond,’’ he said. “I feel like we have been working hard. It’s not good to lose, it kind of humbled us in a sense. It’s helped us regroup and now we have to work even harder in practice. We should be ready. They’re definitely a good team, I’ve been watching film on them. I know they got a lot of good athletes, I feel like we got a lot of good players on our side, too, so I feel like it should be a great game.’’
Richmond (2-0) beat Virginia, which came as no surprise to Priore. Virginia isn’t Alabama, but FBS school’s aren’t suppose to lose when they play teams a level down.
Richmond features a potential pro quarterback in redshirt junior Kyle Lauletta, the CAA preseason offensive player of the year. He has thrown for 553 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games. His targets have been Brian Brown and Tyler Wilkins. To illustrate the caliber of players on the Spiders, last year’s star wide receiver, Reggie Diggs, was signed to an NFL contract by the Redskins.
Stony Brook linebacker Noah McGinty and defensive tackle Josh Valentin each had a sack against Temple. Lauletta will present quite a challenge. “They’ve obviously got good personnel,’’ Priore said. “If not, you’re not where you are as a program. They’ve got a trigger man in the quarterback who will be the best quarterback we play this year in our league. I think how he goes, they go.’’
The Seawolves will be counting on home-field advantage. “It’s a big game. It’s a big stage, but we’ve won those games here,’’ Priore said. “We brought Villanova here and won that game. We beat Liberty for the [Big South] championship, we beat New Hampshire last year as the 11th-ranked team. We beat North Dakota here, we beat Maine when we didn’t even have scholarships.’’
A victory over Richmond would go a long way toward inclusion in the real playoffs.