The Stony Brook University football program will play in probably its biggest game in program history Saturday as the Seawolves host the University at Albany in a first round Football Championship Subdivision NCAA Tournament game at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium (2 p.m. on ESPN3). The winner will advance to the second round to play the tournament's No. 1-overall seed Sam Houston State University, Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Seawolves (8-3), ranked No. 22 in the Sports Network poll and No. 24 in the FCS Coaches poll, earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament last Saturday by defeating Liberty University, 41-31, to win the Big South Conference with a 6-0 record and its automatic qualifying spot.
For those that don't know much about the 2011 FCS playoffs, here's a brief scouting report on Stony Brook.
The Seawolves are led by head coach Chuck Priore who's in the middle of his sixth season at Stony Brook. This season, Priore earned the Big South Coach Of The Year honors for the second time after leading the Seawolves to a school record eight victories.
In 2009, Priore earned the Big South South Coach Of the Year after the Seawolves compiled a 6-5 overall record and collected Co-Champion honors. In '10, Stony Brook again went 6-3 and earned Co-Champion honors.
Surprisingly, Stony Brook head coach is an alum ('82) and former football player of UAlbany where he was a three-year starter.
The Seawolves began the season with a three-game losing streak -- University of Texas at El Paso (31-24, OT), the University of Buffalo (35-7) and Brown University (21-20). However, Stony Brook snapped its skid was a 37-20 victory over Lafayette College, Sept. 24. From there, Stony Brook never looked back winning eight straight games to eight win the Big South outright.
Under center for the Seawolves will be junior quarterback Kyle Essington, who completed 14-of-20 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns against Liberty. Essington, who didn't start until Sept. 8 against Presbyterian, has thrown for a league-best 1,371 yards and has an touchdown-interception ration of 15-1.
Despite the solid play from its quarterback, Stony Brook's offense revolves around the running attack of junior Miguel Maysonet and senior Brock Jackolski. Against Liberty, the two combined for 279-rushing yards and two touchdowns. Maysonet earned the Big South Player Of The Year Award after totaling 1,485-rushing yards, a mark that is just 16 yards shy of the Big South record. Meanwhile, Jackolski has compiled 1,229 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Overall, the Seawolves have scored an average of 39.6 points per game, which leads the FCS.
On defense, All-Big South First Teamers, senior defensive linemen Ryan Haber and sophomore linebacker Jawara Dudley, lead a squad that finished tops in the Big South and nationally had the eighth-best rushing defense (94.8 yards allowed per game) in all of the FCS.
Click here, for more from SB Nation on the FCS playoffs.