WEST POINT, N.Y. -- It was halftime Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium, and Stony Brook had quieted an Army crowd of 31,006 by taking a 13-point lead. The Seawolves' first-ever win over an FBS school in five tries was so close they could taste it, but they were mindful of what happened two weeks earlier at Syracuse, when a three-point halftime lead dissolved into an 11-point loss.
This time the Seawolves (4-1) left no doubt. They took the second-half kickoff and held the ball for 16 plays and a season-high 8:23, driving 75 yards for Miguel Maysonet's second touchdown to send them on their way to a dominant 23-3 victory over the Black Knights (0-4).
Describing the mood in the halftime locker room, Stony Brook left tackle Scott Hernandez said: "It goes back to Week 3 against Syracuse. We came out as an offense and did not finish that game, and that left a bitter taste in our mouths. We told ourselves, 'We're not going to let that happen again. We're going to finish this game and play harder than we've ever played before.' And that's exactly what we did."
Maysonet capped that epic drive with a 1-yard scoring run to go with the 49-yard TD he scored on the Seawolves' fourth play of the game. For the second straight week, the senior rushed for a career high, carrying 32 times for 220 yards as SBU controlled the ball for 38:06.
"I'm excited for us to be able to say that we were the first team to in Stony Brook history," an exultant Maysonet said. "I love those 'firsts.' "
SBU's offense played defense by controlling the ball to keep an Army running attack that led the nation in rushing with 399.0 yards per game off the field. The Seawolves' opening 74-yard drive lasted only four plays as Maysonet broke over the left side to score from 49 yards for a 7-0 lead, but the drives that resulted in three Wes Skiffington field goals of 27, 44 and 25 yards took 11 plays, 12 plays and 10 plays.
Coach Chuck Priore made a subtle halftime adjustment, adding two running plays involving tight end Chris Fenellon in the blocking scheme, and they fueled the opening drive of the second half.
"That drive reflected those adjustments," Priore said. "It was two things we didn't work on all week . . . We put a drive together that showed we had arrived."
Army's triple-option running game was deceptive, but Stony Brook held the Knights to 273 yards, 126 below their average, forcing and recovering four fumbles and producing a goal-line stand. Army had a pair of 100-yard rushers in each of its first three games but was topped by 89 yards from quarterback Trent Steelman and 81 from Raymond Maples.
Rover back Dan Mulrooney recovered one fumble and stopped Steelman for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Stony Brook 4-yard line in the first quarter to protect the 7-0 lead.
"Playing an option team, you know the ball is going to be on the ground," Mulrooney said. "We were 4-for-4 on fumble recoveries. When you have that stat, it's hard to lose."
Indeed, this was the complete game the Seawolves and Priore believed they could play, especially after the way they came back to win the previous week against Colgate.
"I told them before the game, I think this team rode last year's team up until the second half of last week," Priore said. "I told them, 'If you really want it to be your team, you have to do something today.' "
The message came through loud and clear.