Dressed in black uniforms with red numbers, the Stony Brook Seawolves football team put on an impressive display Sunday, and rushed their way to a 20-10 home victory against a hard-charging Villanova Wildcats team. In doing so, the team landed themselves a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision’s second round.
Heading into the game, both teams had similar goals. Like the Wildcats, coach Chuck Priore’s Seawolves were intent on moving the chains on the ground. Despite Stony Brook’s lack of offense through the air, the Seawolves took control at Lavalle Stadium and dominated offensively, converting on their chances when it mattered most.
With starting quarterback Kyle Essington on the sidelines with an injury, Priore relied heavily on running backs Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker, who each exceeded the 100-yard mark for the 10-2 Seawolves, with 160 and 107 yards, respectively. In Essington’s absence, junior Lyle Negron made his first start for the Seawolves, and though he wasn’t called upon to throw the ball often, the California native completed three of six passes for 36 yards.
Maysonet, who entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher, dominated the Wildcat defense all day long, and continued to build his case for the Walter Payton Award, the trophy handed out to the FCS’ top player.
After the game, Priore said that while he “wouldn’t want to play” the 8-4 Villanova again, the victory was just one more step toward the team’s ultimate goal. Last season, Stony Brook fell short against number one Sam Houston State, the eventual tournament runner-up, in the second round of the FCS playoffs, but this year, Priore has his sights set on going further.
When asked about the team’s surprising run in 2011, Priore said “every body looks at last year as a positive, but to our program, it was a loss. So our plans are to finish what we do in the next round of the playoffs and go out there and show up and be successful, and bring home something different than last year.”
Next up for the Seawolves are third-seeded Montana State, who have just one loss on the season, but if Maysonet and Coker can continue to provide Stony Brook with an unstoppable one-two punch in the backfield, anything’s possible. Whether or not Priore can take the Seawolves further than they went last season depends on the outcome of their December 1st showdown with the Bobcats, but regardless of the end result, Stony Brook has made a statement in its final season as a member of the Big South.