Jordan Jackson will emerge out of the locker room Saturday with his teammates from Stony Brook, and they will step into a whole different world of college football.
The Seawolves played in front of 3,544 fans at Colgate last weekend and claimed a 24-3 win to move to 1-1. Now they will be on the road again, this time at ultra-loud, 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium, where they will face the No. 4 team in the country — Oregon.
"This has always been a dream of mine to play on a stage of this caliber," said Jackson, the redshirt sophomore safety who starred for Freeport High. "I’m really excited."
He has company in that department. But despite all the excitement, Jackson said the Seawolves are trying to view it like a regular game, saying, "We don’t want to get too in our heads about it."
They will be up against a 2-0 team that’s riding a 27-game non-conference winning streak at home. The Ducks are coming off a shocking win on the road, their 35-28 victory over then-No. 3 Ohio State, accomplished in front of 100,482 fans at Ohio Stadium.
"Honestly, it’s another football game," Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said. "We’re not going on a trip for Disney. This game has been on the schedule for four or five years, and we’re going to prepare like it’s a football game, go there and compete the best we can."
This is FCS vs. FBS. The bowl subdivision teams have been known to flatten their visiting counterparts. LIU, for instance, took a 66-0 pounding at West Virginia last Saturday.
Stony Brook has never played an FBS team ranked as high as Oregon. The program is 1-10 against the FBS, with the "1" coming at Army in 2012.
So why schedule these type of games? First, there’s the money. Stony Brook has 625,000 reasons in this case. That’s the amount of dollars it’s receiving from Oregon to come play.
"So [the financial reward is] a positive thing to generate income into our athletic program and specifically football," Priore said.
There are other incentives, too.
"I do think there’s a recruiting part that these games help you because kids want to come there and play the best football they can," Priore said. "And obviously it’s a chance to be challenged versus some of the better players that are out there in college football."
Like the Ducks’ CJ Verdell, who ran for 161 yards and three TDs against the Buckeyes. Anthony Brown threw for 236 yards and two scores.
"We’re definitely going to try to keep their offense off the field as much as possible to help our defense out," said Tyquell Fields, the Seawolves’ graduate quarterback. "It’s just a smart thing to do. For any team, ball control, you know, possession, is important, especially at the college level."
"I’ve never played against a team with a crowd like this," Fields added. "This is definitely the biggest team I’ve faced. I’m definitely excited to go out and compete against them."
The Seawolves definitely aren’t conceding.
"If you’re playing Division I football," Jackson said, "your goal should always be to win."