Aesthetically pleasing, it was not.
For 60 minutes, Stony Brook and Richmond engaged in a CAA fistfight at LaValle Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In the rain and wind and cold, the Seawolves gave as good as they got. Which is why coach Chuck Priore and linebacker Aidan Kaler were not at all interested in discussing moral victories when it was over.
“The scoreboard’s got to be the other way,” Priore said after a 20-19 loss that dropped Stony Brook to 0-4. Richmond is 2-2.
The Seawolves’ defense forced five turnovers, including JuJu Ganthier’s 59-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that allowed SBU to cut Richmond’s lead to 17-16. But the Spiders’ Matthew Traynor blocked Spencer Biscoe’s extra-point attempt.
“We just have to find a way,” said Kaler, who had a career-high 14 tackles. “Just have to find a way to win.”
On the first play from scrimmage after Ganthier’s pick-6, nose tackle Taylor Bolesta forced Spiders running back Milan Howard to fumble, and defensive end Rodney Faulk recovered the ball at the Richmond 35-yard line. Seven plays later, Biscoe put the Seawolves ahead 19-17 with a 31-yard field goal.
After an exchange of punts, the Spiders mounted an 11-play, 57-yard drive before Andrew Lopez drilled the winning 28-yard field goal with 46 seconds left.
Jaden Turner mishandled the ensuing kickoff and had to fall on the ball at the Stony Brook 10-yard line. Three plays later, Casey Case (11-for-22, 154 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) was picked off by Donovan Hoilette to essentially end the game.
“Casey played fine,” Priore said.
The Seawolves were outscored 103-34 in their first three games and never led at any point in those contests.
That streak came to an end when Biscoe’s 26-yard field goal with 3:59 left in the first quarter gave Stony Brook its first lead of the season.
Lopez’s 19-yard field goal with 7:45 remaining in the second quarter tied the score, and on Richmond’s next possession, Jackson Hardy and Nick DeGennaro connected on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
But the Seawolves responded with a five-play, 75-yard drive culminating in Case’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Johnson, which sent the teams into halftime tied 10-10.
Richmond took its second lead of the game, 17-10, on Savon Smith’s 36-yard touchdown run with 1:47 left in the third quarter.