Senior Night at Stony Brook turned into a showcase game for the three seniors who lead the Seawolves' high-powered offense -- running back Miguel Maysonet, quarterback Kyle Essington and wide receiver Kevin Norrell. That dominant trio accounted for every SBU touchdown in a 45-7 victory over Virginia Military Institute Saturday night at LaValle Stadium.
The win clinched at least a tie for Stony Brook's fourth straight Big South Conference title, but the Seawolves (9-1, 5-0) still must win their regular-season finale at Liberty on Saturday to be assured of the conference's automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The Flames (4-5, 3-1) will have their hands full if Stony Brook's offensive stars approach the kind of performance they staged against VMI (2-7, 0-4).
Maysonet, one of the leading candidates for the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding FCS player, carried 20 times for 149 yards and three touchdowns to set a Big South record with 49 career TDs.
Essington, the FCS passing efficiency leader, completed 12 of 17 passes for 166 yards and fired three touchdown passes to Norrell, who had eight catches for 113 yards. Marcus Coker added 139 yards rushing on 19 carries.
For Maysonet, it was another game in which he piled up records. It marked his sixth game with at least three TDs, a Big South record. He also surpassed his school and Big South single-season rushing record of 1,633 yards in the third quarter, pushing his season total to 1,651 yards. He has 19 TDs this season.
"I don't worry about it," Maysonet said of his stats. "I'm a team player. All the records don't mean much."
Although the Stony Brook campus had power for all but a few hours this week, the crowd was a modest 4,421 thanks to Sandy's effects. Essington, who lives off campus and went without power until Saturday morning, said, "It was a weird feeling going all week without power. I felt 'locked up' all week."
Maysonet expressed his appreciation for those who made it to the game, saying, "We know people were struggling hard at home with their families. Family first is what counts. We did OK for the people who came out."
Maysonet's 25-yard run set up a 5-yard TD pass from Essington to Norrell for the opening score. On the Seawolves' next possession, Maysonet bounced an off-tackle play outside with a couple of stutter steps and scored on a 16-yards run for a 14-0 lead.
The only Stony Brook error was an uncharacteristic Maysonet fumble in the second quarter. But the Seawolves held and then drove 80 yards, with Essington completing five passes to Norrell for 51 yards, including an 11-yard score. Just before halftime, Maysonet broke a 32-yard run to set up his 2-yard touchdown run for a 28-0 lead.
The first time Stony Brook got the ball in the third quarter, it went 81 yards to score on a 1-yard run by Maysonet for a 35-0 cushion. VMI got on the board with an 8-yard pass from Eric Kordenbrock to Dexter Bridge, but one play after SBU recovered a muffed punt at the VMI 41, Essington hit Norrell up the left side for a 42-7 margin. Wes Skiffington put the cherry on top with a 42-yard field goal.
Speaking for all the seniors, Norrell said, "You always want to go out with a bang. I'm having fun with everyone on the team, especially these guys [Essington and Maysonet]. You're not guaranteed anything. Right now, this was our last home game."
But if the Seawolves win at Liberty, there's still a possibility of an FCS playoff encore at LaValle Stadium.