The suspense was over quickly for Stony Brook on Selection Sunday. The first Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) game announced on the selection show on ESPNU was the Big South champion Seawolves (8-3) hosting Northeastern Conference champion Albany (8-3) next Saturday at LaValle Stadium.
The winner of that game will face No. 1 overall seed Sam Houston State (11-0) in the second round the following week. That's a tough task, but it's also a golden opportunity. Any team that beats Sam Houston State assumes the bracket position of the No. 1 overall seed, meaning it would get the easiest route to the final the rest of the way. Of course, "easy" is a relative term when you're talking about the top 20 teams in the country.
Stony Brook's first-round game will have a reunion theme on a couple of levels. The Seawolves used to play in the NEC with Albany until moving to the Big South, and SBU coach Chuck Priore (pictured) is an Albany grad. He was a running back who played under Great Danes coach Bob Ford and then joined the Danes' coaching staff after graduating from 1983-85.
Here's a brief scouting report on Albany:
Quarterback -- Dan DiLella completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 2,325 yards and 24 touchdowns with 8 interceptions.
Leading rusher -- Drew Smith had 177 carries for 1,052 yards, a 5.9 avg and 9 TDs.
Top receivers -- Ryan Kirchner (44 catches-472 yards-9 TDs) and Cole King (30-538-5).
Top defenders -- DE EddieDelaney is a 6-6, 250-pound senior from Sachem East who has 8.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 3 passes defensed and 3 pass breakups; ILB Jon Morgan is a 6-2, 225-pound junior from Copiague, who leads the team with 97 total tackles and has 2.5 sacks.
Team stats (offense-defense)
Scoring -- 34.2 -- 22.5
Rushing -- 190.7 -- 151.5
Passing -- 230.7 -- 195.9
Turnovers -- 14 -- 22 (+8)
Penalties -- 63.4 -- 31.8
Sacks by -- 24 -- 9
3d down conversions -- 41 % -- 43 %
Best win -- 38-10 over NEC co-champ Duquesne
Worst loss -- 34-37 in OT at 5-6 Colgate of the Patriot League