Villanova at Stony Brook FCS Playoffs Game Breakdown

George Hammond

Villanova at Stony Brook FCS Playoffs Game Breakdown


Villanova at Stony Brook

Villanova was hoping for a first-round bye. Stony Brook, meanwhile, was just hoping to get in. It appears the Seawolves got the better end of the bargain. Not only did Stony Brook (9-2, 5-1) make the FCS playoffs as an at-large team, it gets to host Villanova in a first-round game beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday in Stony Brook, N.Y. The winner will travel to No. 3 seed Montana State on Dec. 1 in the quarterfinals.

And because the Seawolves were idle on Saturday, they should come into the game well rested. That’s what Villanova coach Andy Talley wanted – a bye week. “I was hoping we wouldn’t have to play in the first round,” Talley said. “More than anything is the rest and now we won’t have that.”

This is Villanova’s 10th trip to the FCS/Division I-AA playoffs. The Wildcats won the national title in 2009, reached the semifinals in 2010 and the quarterfinals in 2008.

“The year we went to the semifinals (2010) we played all of our games on the road so it’s not that big of a deal,” senior wide receiver Norman White said. “I like being on the road. I like to travel and stay in hotels, and we know we have to play better.”

There were 16 scenarios to determining the CAA automatic bid. Only one gave Villanova the automatic bid and that’s how it played out Saturday. Towson defeated New Hampshire, 64-35. Richmond held off William & Mary, 21-14, and Old Dominion rallied to beat James Madison, 38-28. That gave Villanova the automatic bid based on its win over ODU.

After a loss at Liberty the previous week cost the Seawolves a shot at the Big South Conference’s automatic bid, they knew they were on the playoff bubble, and Charlie Cobb, chairman of the FCS playoff selection committee, admitted as much Sunday when he said Stony Brook was one of the last two teams in.

"My mind was a scramble. I was just praying,” said Stony Brook Kyle Essington during the playoff selection show that was televised on ESPNU. “When we heard our name, that's a moment I'll always remember. Playing at home is going to be a big advantage."

Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore had warned his players before the playoff announcement came that their name might not be called. “That's just Game 12 on our schedule," a relieved Priore said later. "That's our approach. We'll be ready to play. I guarantee you that."

This is Stony Brook’s second straight trip to the FCS playoffs. The Seawolves defeated Albany last season before falling to eventual runner-up Sam Houston State, 34-27, in the second round.

Two outstanding running backs will be on display in this contest. Stony Brook’s Miquel Maysonet is just 133 yards away from 5,000 for his career. The Walter Payton Award candidate has 4,482 yards in 35 games at Stony Brook. Villanova sophomore running back Kevin Monangai, who led the CAA in rushing, keys the Wildcats’ attack. He has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for five consecutive games.  The only other Villanova player to do that was Brian Westbrook, who went on to star with the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the first meeting between the two teams, but it won’t be the last as Stony Brook is set to join the CAA next year.


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