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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Seawolves beat Albany in playoff game, advance in FCS bracket

    Ezra Margono / The Statesman

    Stony Brook’s defensive backs DJ Porter and Dominick Reyes teamed up in the last minute of the game for an interception that was possibly the biggest play in Stony Brook football history that ultimately led to Stony Brook’s 31-28 victory against the University of Albany.

    “I can’t even describe how it felt,” said Reyes in regards to the interception in the end zone. “I couldn’t even dream that up. It was just amazing. It hasn’t even hit me.”

    The play was equally as emotional for Albany except for different reasons.

    “I’ll be reliving it for the rest of my life,” said Albany’s quarterback, Dan Di Lella, of his game-changing interception throw.

    Di Lella finished the game 24 for 43, 223 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown. Unfortunately, his second interception sealed Albany’s fate and ended its NCAA playoff run.

    The meeting was the first NCAA playoff game for both schools.

    Coach Chuck Priore found himself in a rare position as he took on his former coach and mentor in Albany’s head coach Bob Ford.

    “I want to congratulate Chuck Priore and the Stony Brook staff,” said Coach Ford after the game. “They’ve had a superb season.”

    Coach Ford tore his MCL during the game when one of Albany’s wide receivers, Ryan Kirchner, accidentally slammed into the longtime head coach. Fortunately, Ford was well enough that he was able to continue coaching for the remainder of the game.

    “I told the squad I did it for motivational purposes,” joked Ford, telling Kirchner, “I thought you could hit harder than that.”

    Kirchner and fellow wide receiver Cole King both had catches for a touchdown in the game totaling 82 yards.

    Stony Brook only scored one touchdown in the first half, and while it usually uses its running game to score points, Stony Brook used the advantage of Essington’s powerful arm for a majority of the game. Essington found Matt Brevi for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 5:44 left to go in the first half to make the score 14-10.

    “In halftime, we said don’t wait for a play to happen, make a play happen,” said senior running back Brock Jackolski.

    Jackolski finished the game with 18 carries, 94 yards and three touchdowns. As a senior, he’s happy to be able to continue on in the NCAA playoff run and is looking forward to playing at least one more game of football in a Stony Brook uniform.

    “Whenever I play I try to have a big game,” said Jackolski “But it means a lot to do it on Long Island for Stony Brook University.”

    Jackolski and fellow running back Miguel Maysonet had an incredible season.

    Maysonet scored four touchdowns in a game twice this season, becoming the only player in conference history to do so.

    He also was named Big South Offensive Player of the Year. Jackolski is one of the best all-purpose threats in the nation with 186.7 yards per game and he earned All-Big South second team at kick returner for a second straight season.

    Along with Jackolski, Porter is also a senior playing his last year on Stony Brook’s football squad, and he’s making the most of it.

    The 5’8” 181 pound playmaker had nine tackles and one interception in the close game against Albany.

    “We play these games for these type of endings,” said Porter. “I’m just excited. This is my senior year, so I’m glad I’m still playing football.”

    Stony Brook’s quarterback Kyle Essington has confidence in his team, and with a nine game winning-streak, it’s not a surprise.

    Essington finished the game 12 for 24, 248 yards, one interception and two touchdowns.

    “I don’t think it matters who you put in front of us, what they’re ranked, or who they are,” said Essington. “I think we’re gonna come out and hit them in the mouth like we do every team.”

    Stony Brook trailed for the majority of the game but managed to bounce back in the second half. The Seawolves came back in the second half with a vengeance, scored three touchdowns in less than eight minutes and won the game.

    In response to how he felt about his team’s incredible comeback victory, coach Priore asked, “Is wow good enough?”

    This is the 15th time Albany’s Great Dances have taken on the Seawolves, and it’s only the fifth time that the Seawolves have come out victorious.

    “Sometimes you don’t play your best and you’ve got to count on the team to win the game,” said Coach Priore. “And we talked about that at halftime when we were down 21-10. We’re only gonna win this as a team. I can’t be prouder of this group’s ability to play the game of football the correct way.”

    Stony Brook will face off against a tough team in Sam Houston State (11-0) next week.

    “We’re going to rest up,” said coach Priore in how his team will prepare for the trip to Bowers Stadium in Hunstville, Texas to take on the number one seed in the FCS Conference.

    Stony Brook is the number one scoring offense in the FCS, while SHSU is number two.

    It will be interesting to see how the two offensive powerhouses compete against each other on Saturday.

    “I’m sure going down to Sam Houston is going to be a tough game,” said Porter. “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

    Stony Brook and Sam Houston State will kick off at 3 p.m. local time where the Seawolves will try to continue their winning streak in their second NCAA playoff game in the school’s history.

    “We played against a good football team,” said Coach Priore. “I’m proud to be a part of Stony Brook’s win today.”

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