By GREG LAUDANI
The UNH football team was no match for Stony Brook without quarterback Sean Goldrich, as the Wildcats fell 31-6 on Saturday night at Stony Brook University.
Goldrich was sidelined after injuring his ankle in the third quarter of last weekend’s win at Colgate University. On Saturday, the Wildcats started Chris McCormick and later used the services of quarterbacks Adam Riese and Trevor Knight. UNH gained a total of 178 yards passing in Goldrich’s absence.
UNH running back Dalton Crossan, who rushed for a team-high 40 yards on 14 carries, said it was challenging for his team without Goldrich.
“Sean’s [Goldrich] a big part of our offense and he’s the leader out there, so it was tough missing him,” he said.
McCormick completed two of five passes for 11 yards. The junior struggled with accuracy at times and was replaced by Adam Riese early in the second quarter. Riese led the Wildcats on their most successful drive, a 13-play, 80-yard march that ended with a Riese 17-yard touchdown pass to Rory Donovan.
The touchdown closed Stony Brook’s lead to 10-6 with 11 seconds remaining in the first half.
“I thought Reese did a hell of a job,” UNH head coach Sean McDonnell said. “He went in there and did it, got us in the end zone and had a couple of good drives.”
The Seawolves quickly removed UNH’s momentum after quarterback Conor Bednarski threw a 24-yard touchdown to Ray Bolden to escalate the lead to 17-6. The touchdown came just one play after a stellar kickoff return set up the Seawolves’ offense on the UNH 24-yard line.
“It was tough, obviously, after the kick return and the touchdown at the end of the half,” Crossan said. “We just had a high on the touchdown and then you just have to shake it off and come back.”
UNH linebacker Akil Anderson said the Wildcats needs to be better on defense in order for the team to be successful.
“We need to be more consistent on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “It was tough there and we thought we definitely had the momentum up until that point [Stony Brook touchdown].”
The Wildcats offense struggled in the second half and failed to get on the scoreboard. Stony Brook’s defense held UNH to 253 total yards. Crossan credited the Seawolves’ speed and energy on defense.
“They’re a very, very good defense,” he said. “Definitely one of the best in the conference. They did their thing out there and they were flying around.”
As UNH struggled to sustain drives, Stony Brook moved the ball successfully on the ground and with the passing game. Seawolves running back Stacey Bedell had his way on Saturday night, rushing for 193 yards including a 51-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter. Bedell’s scoring run boosted his team’s lead to 31-6.
“They executed very well,” Anderson said. “Their game plan was to come in and run the ball down our throats and they got it off more times than not. They played better than we did and executed better than we did.”
Stony Brook rushed for a total of 228 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Carbone guided the Seawolves with 109 passing yards while Bednarski totaled 60 through the air.
Anderson said UNH’s defense knew there would be added pressure with Goldrich out. Despite the outcome, he said he was proud of the way his team fought even after the game had gotten out of hand.
“Even though our back is against the wall, we have to fight every play and never give up,” he said. “And I thought we did pretty well for the most part. We kept playing and I’m proud of that.”
The Wildcats try to put this loss behind them when they take on Central Connecticut State University next weekend at Cowell Stadium on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. After playing the first three games of the season away from Durham, Crossan said he is looking forward to playing the next two games at home.
“It’s going to be nice to be home,” he said. “We have two home games in a row so we can get in the swing of things and we won’t have to take five, six-hour trips.”
Anderson said there is certainly room to improve and he is looking forward to trying to correct things in practice next week.
“We just have to look at the film and get back to practice and do what we need to do,” he said. “I think we’ll bounce back just fine.”
The CCSU game on Sept. 26 will be during UNH’s Parent’s Weekend.