WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Army coach Rich Ellerson showed his players the game video and praised the ability of the Cadets' opponent, but somehow, the thought of playing an opponent named Stony Brook from the Football Championship Subdivision did not compute.
Sure, Army was 0-3, but it was leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing and playing teams from the Mountain West, MAC and ACC.
In the aftermath of the Black Knights' 23-3 loss to the Seawolves (4-1), Ellerson could only say he told them so. "I told our players we were going to be lining up, in some instances, against someone who was as good or better than anyone we've seen so far," Ellerson said. "And we've played some good people.
"I don't think our guys could hear that. I think our guys say 'Stony Brook.' They carried that expectation around with them. It worked against them."
After losing in a blowout in its opener at San Diego State, which joins the Big East next season, Army lost shootouts against Northern Illinois, a bowl team last season from the MAC (41-40), and Wake Forest of the ACC (49-37). But the Knights managed only a field goal against the Seawolves, let Miguel Maysonet rush for 220 yards and had the ball only 21:54.
Ellerson said half his players lined up across from the best player they will face all year. "I don't think we could bring ourselves to believe that," he said. "I don't know if we looked forward to it or were afraid of it because 'Well, it's Stony Brook.' We couldn't handle that part of it."