The Stony Brook Seawolves had their way in the trenches, maximizing a powerful running game and giving Villanova few opportunities to get ahead.
When you have a power running team like Stony Brook, you can't win without great blocking, and on Saturday afternoon, the Seawolves got their way blocking and creating space for Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker to run; and run they did. They excelled on the ground, collecting over 280 rushing yards in the game and controlling the ball for almost twice as long as Villanova.
Villanova threw the ball almost as much as they ran in the first half and finished the game with more pass attempts than carries as the Stony Brook defense forced the Wildcats to step outside of their offensive strengths. Villanova went into halftime down 14-0, and while the offense was more successful in the second half, too many miscues slowed the Wildcats and cost them the game.
Stony Brook won, 20-10 and will advance to the second round of the playoffs to face Montana State in Bozeman next weekend.
Though scoreless, the first quarter was all Stony Brook as the Seawolves took the ball after Villanova's opening drive stalled and held on to the ball for the next 13 minutes. As the clock expired for the second quarter, SBU was in the redsone, and two plays into the second, Maysonet punched the ball into the endzone for six.
Villanova got onto the board in the third quarter after creating a turnover by stripping tailback Maysonet on a tackle. They used that field position to drive down field, but stalled short of scoring the touchdown, settling for a 41-yard Mark Hamilton field goal.
Though star running back Maysonet scored twice in the second quarter on 1-yard and and 14-yard touchdowns. The second touchdown was the last time the Seawolves would put the ball across the goal line, but they weren't done scoring; a third quarter field goal made it 17-3 and a fourth quarter kick pushed the score to 20-3.
Villanova still had about 13 and a half minutes to come back after that score and quarterback John Robertson would eventually find the endzone with just under 7 minutes left in the game. His 21-yard scoring run put the 'Cats within two scores of the Seawolves and put Robertson over 1,000 rushing yards on the season.
Robertson, who lead Villanova with 85 rushing yards, is the first Villanova quarterback to run for 1,000 yards in a single season and only the fifth Wildcat to do so at any position. He joins his teammate Kevin Monanagai in that exclusive club with Brian Westbrook (who ran for over 1,000 yards three times), Aaron Ball and Curtis Sifford.
Robertson also passed for 135 yards, falling just short of 2,000 yards for the season, a mark he would have easily reached if a few of the dropped passes that were suffered had been completed. He also threw two picks in the game, both with time close to expiring at the end of the half.
Norman White had 7 receptions for 61 yards to lead the passing game and Joe Price grabbed 3 passes for 41 yards.
The loss sends the Wildcats into the offseason program, where they will look to become bigger, faster and stronger to better compete with some of the best offensive and defensive lines in the Championship Subdivision next year. They will nonetheless be applauded for their remarkable turnaround from a 2-9 season to 8 wins and a playoff berth when many observers felt they were at least another year away from contention.