The Stony Brook football team will play in an FCS postseason game for the first time since 2012 when they face Lehigh at 2 p.m. Saturday at LaValle Stadium.
If they win the first-round game, the Seawolves (9-2, 7-1 Colonial Athletic Association) will play top-seeded James Madison on Dec. 2.
The top eight seeds in the 24-team tournament have a first-round bye and the other 16 teams open Saturday. The only game at a neutral location will be the national championship game Jan. 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
“We’ve got 19 seniors, so they’re certainly excited to get another game of college football under their belt,” coach Chuck Priore said. “They feel like we accomplished obviously one part of what we wanted to do, which was sitting in that room today and hearing our name called, and it’s the start of the second season.”
Lehigh (5-6) earned an automatic playoff bid by winning the Patriot League title. The Mountain Hawks went 5-1 in the conference and scored at least 34 points in each of their final six games, but they have allowed 39.4 points per game this year.
The Seawolves are coming off an emotional 20-19 victory over Maine, a game that ended on a 35-yard “Hail Mary” touchdown pass from Joe Carbone to Harrison Jackson. Stony Brook, which won its final five regular-season games, went 5-1 in games decided by eight or fewer points.
Carbone has completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,995 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions and the Seawolves have averaged 28.0 points per game. His favorite target, Ray Bolden, has battled injuries throughout the season but finished with 66 receptions for 780 yards and nine touchdowns. He left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.
Senior Stacey Bedell, a Floyd graduate, has been the featured back, totaling seven touchdowns, 694 yards and 5.1 yards per rush. Donald Liotine added 561 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and tremendous special-teams work.
The offense continued its strong production even after losing All-American left tackle Timon Parris (fractured fibula) for the season Oct. 28 at Richmond. The Floral Park product could be the first player drafted in program history,
The Stony Brook defense, which returned nine starters from one of the top-ranked FCS defenses last season, held opponents to 19.4 points per game.