Wildcats Fall to No. 10 Stony Brook, 20-10, in First Round of Playoffs
Nov. 24, 2012
STONY BROOK, N.Y.--In the first round of the Division I Football Championship host and 10th-ranked Stony Brook (10-2) set the tone with long drives in the first half and defeated No. 14 Villanova (8-4) by a final score of 20-10 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The loss concludes what has been a terrific season for the Wildcats, who reached the FCS playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.
One of the nation's best running teams was in top form as the Seawolves ran for 263 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. The first points of the game came on the first Stony Brook possession, a marathon 21-play drive for 98 yards that consumed nearly 13 minutes of clock time and spanned the first two periods.
Midway through the fourth quarter a 21-yard run for a touchdown by Villanova redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.) pulled the Wildcats to within 20-10 but that was as close as Villanova could get in the closing minutes. One of the big stories in the game was time of possession and the Seawolves held the ball for more than 39 minutes.
The outcome of the game won't diminish the success of the Wildcats season. Villanova bounced back from a 2-9 campaign in 2011 in a big way, winning eight games for the 19th time in team history while reaching the FCS playoffs for the 10th time. Even with a losing record last season the Wildcats senior class still sported a sterling four-year mark of 33-19 (.632), a mark which included a national championship in 2009 and a semifinal berth in the playoffs in 2010 in addition to this year's return trip to the postseason.
Villanova made a name for itself with its running game this season but was held to 136 rushing yards by Stony Brook, only the second this season the Wildcats have been limited to less than 150 yards on the ground. Robertson accounted for 220 of the 271 yards of total offense that Villanova had and ran for a team-high 85 yards and the one touchdown on 15 carries. He was also 15-of-31 through the air for 135 yards and a pair of interceptions.
With his 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter Robertson also surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season. He became the first quarterback in Wildcats history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season and only the fifth Villanova player overall to achieve the feat. He surpassed the previous single-season rushing record for a team quarterback of 987 yards which Chris Whitney set during the 2009 national championship season.
The first Wildcats points in the game came on a 41-yard field goal by junior kicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) with 7:59 to play in the third quarter. Villanova trailed 14-3 at that point and the Seawolves stretched that margin to 20-3 on field goals by Wesley Skiffington of 37 yards and 29 yards, respectively. His two field goals came less than four minutes apart late in the third quarter and early in the fourth period and put the game all but out of reach.
Senior wide receiver Norman White (Hammonton, N.J.) had a game-high seven catches for 61 yards, while junior Joe Price (Havertown, Pa.) and sophomore Poppy Livers (Seaside, Calif.) had three catches apiece.
Villanova received the ball to open the game but only went 39 yards on eight plays before Hamilton punted the ball back to Stony Brook. His 54-yard punt was downed at the Seawolves two-yard line with exactly 12 minutes to play in the first quarter.
The drive that ensued created a tone that held for the rest of the game. Led by running backs Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker the Seawolves methodically moved down the field. By the time Coker scored on a one-yard scamper 43 seconds into the second period Stony Brook had amassed 82 rushing yards on their first drive of the contest.
Maysonet also scored on a 14-yard run with 3:13 to go before halftime and finished the day with 25 carries for 160 yards. Coker also went over the century mark and ran 29 times for 107 yards. Stony Brook passed the ball on just six of its 64 offensive plays.
This season marked the second time in the last four years that the Wildcats have claimed at least a share of the CAA Football regular season title. Villanova won the league's automatic bid to the Division I Football Championship and won a conference title for the sixth time in its history.