Friday, November 25, 2011

UAlbany Meets Stony Brook in the First Round of the NCAA Div. I FCS Playoffs on Saturday

Stony Brook, N.Y. - UAlbany and Stony Brook battle in the first round the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 26 at LaValle Stadium. Kickoff is 2:00 p.m. ESPN3 will televise the game with Shawn Kenney and Rob Harley as the announcers. Fans can listen to the game on Fox Sports 980, WOFX-AM, with Rodger Wyland and Zach Bye providing the coverage.

Stony Brook (8-3) won the Big South Conference championship after defeating Liberty, 41-31, on Nov. 19. The Seawolves are No. 22 in the current Sports Network national poll. After opening with three non-league losses, SBU coach Chuck Priore's squad reeled off eight consecutive wins. The offense is dynamic and leads the nation in scoring (39.6 ppg) and is third in rushing (287.4 pg). The Seawolves boast two 1,000-yard rushers in Miguel Maysonet and Brock Jackolski. Each running back came to Stony Brook after Hofstra eliminated its football program and are first-team all-conference performers. Maysonet is second among the NCAA rushing leaders with 1,485 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jackolski is second among active NCAA leaders with 6,007 career all-purpose yards. He is third nationally in that category at 186.7 yards per game. He has run for 1,229 yards and 13 TDs, plus is third among the FCS leaders in kickoff returns (32.3 avg.) QB Kyle Essington was named the Big South player of the week after throwing three scoring passes vs. Liberty. The California native has passed for 1,435 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jordan Gush and Kevin Norrell are the favorite targets with 35 and 33 receptions, respectively. Matt Brevi, a second-team All-Big South receiver, has 26 catches for 470 yards and five TDs. Michael Bamiro (6-8, 350) starts at right tackle.

The Seawolves are fourth in turnover margin (+1.45) and ninth in rushing yards allowed (95.6 ypg) among the Division I FCS' top defenses. Boston College transfer Dan Mulrooney has 63 tackles and three fumble recoveries in his first season. Jawara Dudley, who was the team's best rookie defender as a freshman, adds 61 tackles and 4.5 sacks. CB Donald Porter is tied for eighth nationally with six interceptions, plus has six pass break-ups. He moved from wide receiver to defense last year. CB Al-Majid Hutchins, a Rutgers transfer, was the team's top tackler with 11 against Liberty. S Dominick Reyes contributes 52 tackles, two fumbles forced, two recoveries and three pass break-ups. PK Wesley Skiffington, a second-team All-Big South pick as a sophomore, has made 8 of 11 field goals and 53 of 55 PATs.

UAlbany (8-3) earned a share of its fifth Northeast Conference championship in last Saturday's 31-21 victory over Sacred Heart. Head coach Bob Ford, who has 255 career victories, has led the program to its first NCAA FCS postseason appearance. QB Dan Di Lella has passed for 2,235 yards and 24 touchdowns. The senior broke a single-season TD pass mark that had stood for 14 years. TB Andrew Smith is the ninth UAlbany players to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He has registered 100-plus all-purpose yards in nine consecutive games. WR Ryan Kirchner had 44 receptions for 472 yards and nine scores. Kirchner set the program's FCS record with three touchdown catches last week.

DE Eddie Delaney and DT Zach Gallo, a pair of senior defensive linemen, lead the defense. Delaney has established UAlbany's single-season FCS sacks mark with 8.5, while Gallo (58 tackles) was chosen NEC defensive player of the week for the second time this year. His third-quarter interception led to the go-ahead touchdown. Jon Morgan, a junior inside linebacker, is first on the team in tackles with 97, including 47 unassisted. S Jake Ciccarello (53 tackles) and CB Leon Saddler, who has two interceptions and two pass break-ups, are solid in the secondary. PK Herb Glass, who has eclipsed a single-season standard with 47 PATs, and Paul Layton, the nation's sixth-leading punter with a 43.0 average, are a top-flight special teams' tandem.

Paw Prints: UAlbany and Stony Brook are meeting for the 15th time ... the Great Danes have won 10 of the previous 14 contests ... UAlbany has reached the eight-win plateau for the fourth time as a NCAA Division I FCS program ... UAlbany is making its first NCAA appearance in football since 1977 ... the Great Danes placed eleven players on the 2011 All-Northeast Conference squad ... DE Eddie Delaney is just the second UAlbany defensive lineman to be recognized on three occasions during a career ... Bob Ford was voted NEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time.

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