(14) Villanova (8-3) at (10) Stony Brook (9-2)
The Sports Network
By Tim McDonnell, FCS Assistant
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 3 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium (8,136) - Stony Brook, New York. Surface: FieldTurf. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Dan Gutowsky and John Gregory. Home record: Villanova 3-2; Stony Brook 6-0. Away record: Villanova 5-1; Stony Brook 3-2. Conference: Villanova - Colonial Athletic Association; Stony Brook - Big South. Nicknames: Villanova Wildcats; Stony Brook Seawolves. Series record: First meeting. Head coaches: Villanova - Andy Talley (27th season, 198-119-1 at Villanova, 226-137-2 overall); Stony Brook - Chuck Priore (seventh season, 46-33 at Stony Brook; 85-42 overall). FCS playoff records: Villanova 11-7; Stony Brook 1-1. Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Villanova 9 (1989, 91-92, 96-97, 2002, 08-10); Stony Brook 1 (2011). Sports Network Ranking: Villanova (14); Stony Brook (10).
GAME NOTES: In one of the more intriguing first-round matchups, Villanova, the CAA Football champion, heads to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in New York, to play Stony Brook.
For the fourth time in the last five years, Villanova heads back to the postseason. Just making the playoffs alone this year has been pretty remarkable, when you consider the Wildcats won just two games in 2011 and only one of those was in conference play. Of course, there are going to be some arguments as to why the CAA champion has to play on the road, let alone in the first round, but don't take away the accomplishments of Stony Brook, either.
The Seawolves finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Big South Conference and lost their regular-season finale at Liberty, which almost cost them a playoff spot. However, the team had nice wins over FBS member Army and FCS playoff teams Colgate and Coastal Carolina.
Running back Miguel Maysonet is a legitimate contender for the Walter Payton Award. In 11 games, he has rushed for 1,721 yards and 19 touchdowns and leads the FCS in rushing with 156 yards per game. He is complemented by fellow running back Marcus Coker (855 yards, nine touchdowns), which gives SBU a very capable one-two punch. Quarterback Kyle Essington leads the FCS in passing efficiency with a 175.83 rating and he's thrown for 22 touchdowns in 11 games.
Villanova redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson, who became the starter following the first week of the season, was named CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year, after leading his team to an 8-2 record as a starter. He has thrown for 1,830 yards and 14 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season. Teams have had to account for him running the ball as well. Robertson has rushed for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns, second only behind first-team CAA running back Kevin Monangai (1,190 yards, 11 touchdowns).
Expect both teams to try to find success with their run game. The 'Cats allow 146 rushing yards per game, while the Seawolves give up 131 rushing yards per game. When push comes to shove, literally, something has to give.
Wide receivers Norman White (Villanova) and Kevin Norrell (Stony Brook) are pretty similar playmakers and are the favorite targets of their quarterbacks. Watch out for big plays through the play-action pass.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stony Brook 40, Villanova 36.
11/21 13:01:34 ET