Stony Brook became only the second team this season to rush for more than 100 yards against No. 1 Sam Houston's top-ranked run defense, which had held opponents to an average of 59 yards per game in the regular season. The Seawolves totaled 150 yards rushing as Brock Jackolski gained 86 on 14 carries and Miguel Maysonet added 73 on 16 carries.
Maysonet (pictured against SHSU) broke a 30-yard run that led to a second-quarter field goal, and Jackolski had a 65-yard dash that set up the Seawolves first touchdown for a 10-3 halftime lead. On the surface, it sounds good, but in truth, it was a disappointment that Sam Houston was able to contain Stony Brook's running game in the second half of its 34-27 second-round FCS playoff victory Saturday at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Tx.
The Seawolves couldn't move out of the shadow of their own goal posts in the third quarter, going three-and-out on three straight series. The game changed there because the Bearkats gained a field-position advantage that led to two third-quarter TDs for a 17-10 lead, and Stony Brook had to rely on Kyle Essington's passing the rest of the way.
It was a thrilling fourth quarter with the teams going back and forth for 17 points apiece, but it hurt the Seawolves that they couldn't control the clock and, thus, the game by running the ball. They gained only 29 yards rushing in the second half and had the ball just 11:30. Their 150 yards rushing was well below the Seawolves' average of 277 yards, which ranks fourth in the country.
"They only had 150 yards rushing, and 95 came on two runs," Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz said. "We did a pretty nice job of stopping their run. We continued to pack the box, so, they max-protected and we had a hard time getting pressure on their quarterback."
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore admitted it wasn't by design that the Seawolves went to the pass in the second half. "We didn't make a decision to specifically do that," Priore said. "I thought we had worn down their corners, so, we made some plays and scored some points."
Indeed, the Seawolves fought back beautifully to tie the game at 20 and again at 27. But in the end, it was the Bearkats who were able to run the ball when it mattered, rushing for 68 yards in the game-winning drive. They became only the second team to outrush Stony Brook this season (182-150), and that made all the difference.