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    Seawolves bring East Coast style of play to Big South

    Sixth-year head coach Chuck Priore leads the Seawolves into their fourth Big South campaign. (Kenneth Ho/The Statesman)

    Not many teams have a solid running back they can count on to be a force in every game they play.

    Stony Brook has two.

    Junior Miguel Maysonet and senior Brock Jackolski, two of the top rushers in the Big South Conference, return for another year with the Seawolves. They give the Seawolves a fearsome running game, and they say they’re back better than ever.

    “We’re faster and stronger than last year, and don’t have many changes, to build off last year,” Maysonet said.

    Both running backs finished the 2010 season with over 1,000 yards, with Maysonet rushing for 1,155 yards and Jackolski gaining 1,062 yards.

    Maysonet averaged 102.5 yards a game and Jackolski averaged 93.5 yards per game. Both combined for 21 of the team’s 26 rushing touchdowns, with Maysonet running for 12 touchdowns and Jackolski running for 9 of his own.

    The two have the added bonus of opening up the passing game for quarterback Michael Coulter. Coulter is in his senior year and has improved significantly since coming to Stony Brook in 2009.

    “Obviously they’re both high-caliber running backs,” senior quarterback Michael Coulter  said. “We’re the best power-running team,” he added when comparing his teammates to the rest of the Big South Conference. Both running backs were named to the pre-season All-Big South team and were on the All-Big South first-team last season.

    Stony Brook did lose one running back in Eddie Gowins, who transferred to Division II California University of Pennsylvania. But with Maysonet and Jackolski in the backfield, Stony Brook’s offense should be explosive again, helping the team improve on 2010’s 6-5 (5-1) record.

    One of the key losses for Stony Brook this season will be the graduation of Arin West, who was tied for the team lead in tackles last season with 85 tackles, 50 solo and 35 assisted.

    One of the key losses for Stony Brook this season will be the graduation of Arin West, who was tied for the team lead in tackles last season with 85 tackles, 50 solo and 35 assisted. Other than the loss of West, Stony Brook’s defense remains mostly intact, and will continue to put pressure on the opponent’s offense.

    On the defensive side the Seawolves still have juniors Craig Richardson, Dominick Reyes and sophomore Davonte Anderson. Richardson, a linebacker, tied West with 85 tackles, 43 solo and 42 assisted. Reyes, a defensive back was third on the team with 67 tackles, 40 solo and 27 assisted. Anderson, also a defensive back led the team in interceptions with four.

    Stony Brook’s first game will be at the University of Texas, El Paso, a non-conference game.

    It’s only the second time in school history that the Seawolves have played an opponent from the FBS, college football’s highest division. Last season, the Seawolves played against the University of South Florida in a game that could be considered a learning experience for Stony Brook.

    The final score of 59-14 seems like a blowout, and it was — but Stony Brook actually led in the first quarter, 14-7. Stony Brook fell apart and did not come close the rest of the game, failing to score another point.

    One of the big differences this time around for the Seawolves will be the dry heat in Texas at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. It is a different type of heat that is uncommon for most players.

    “Staying hyrdrated and being ready for the heat is key,” as they look to get the win, Maysonet said.

    Stony Brook will then travel to Buffalo — a second FBS opponent in two weeks for the Seawolves — and then come home to face Brown and Lafayette.

    Stony Brook’s first game against a conference rival will be Saturday, Oct. 8 when they face Presbyterian College at home.

    The final game of the season for Stony Brook will be at home Saturday, Nov. 19 against Liberty University. Liberty and Stony Brook tied the conference last season at 5-1, along with Coastal Carolina, which ended up taking the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs thanks to the conference’s points allowed tiebreaker rule, after the Seawolves surrendered a shocking 54 points to the Liberty Flames and returning senior dual-threat quarterback Mike Brown, who rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more, gaining 334 yards through the air.

    If both teams play well the entire season, this final game could be the one that clinches the conference, and the Seawolves are ready, not only for the Liberty game but for all the challenges they’ll face this season.

    “We’re a year older,” Maysonet added. “We’re a year smarter. We’re going into the game knowing that we can win.”

    Nearly a year after Maysonet absorbed this can-do attitude while playing against South Florida, the Seawolves are ready to try their hand again against a big school. It will one of many litmus tests that the team shall face before they begin their conference schedule and try to win their first out-right Big South championship in school history.

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