FCS Playoffs: Stony Brook at James Madison
FCS Playoffs Second Round
The Matchup – Stony Brook (10-2) at No. 1 seed James Madison (11-0)
Kickoff – 2 p.m. ET at Bridgeforth Stadium (24,877) in Harrisonburg, Virginia
Coverage – ESPN3
Series – James Madison leads 2-1 (last meeting: James Madison won 38-20 in Harrisonburg on Oct. 3, 2015)
Players to Watch – Stony Brook: QB Joe Carbone (189 of 327, 22 TDs, 3 INTs), TB Donald Liotine (145 carries, 694 yards, 10 TDs), TB Stacey Bedell (148 carries, 776 yards, 8 TDs), Rover Tyrice Beverette (86 TT, 10 1/2 TFL, 4 PBU), LB Shayne Lawless (84 TT, 6 Sacks, 2 FF); James Madison: QB Bryan Schor (192 of 280, 2,257 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs; 6 rushing TDs), RB Trai Sharpe (137 carries, 686 yards, 4 TDs), LT Aaron Stinnie, DE Andrew Ankrah (45 TT, 13 1/2 TFL, 7 1/2 Sacks), LB Kyrie Hawkins (78 TT, 7 Sacks, 8 PBU)
The Skinny – James Madison won the CAA Football title with an 8-0 mark, finishing one game ahead of Stony Brook after they didn’t meet in the regular season. Stony Brook pounded Lehigh for 354 rushing yards in a 59-29 first-round win, but will find fewer holes in a James Madison defense that’s ranked No. 1 in the FCS in scoring defense (9 ppg) and total defense (228.2 ypg). Stony Brook’s team lead in tackles is heavily contested between Beverette (86), Lawless (84), SS Chris Cooper (83) and MLB Noah McGinty (82). JMU, the defending FCS champion, is on a 23-game win streak (the fourth-longest in FCS history and one behind a tie for second place). This year’s team is more defensive-oriented than last season, featuring Ankrah, the CAA defensive player of the year. The aggressive unit has racked up 43 sacks. Offensively, the Dukes use the run to set up the pass, although they’ve gone two straight games without a TD through the air. Schor spreads the ball around, with Terrence Alls collecting a team-high 33 receptions in seven games. Freshman PK Ethan Ratke has come on for an injured Tyler Gray to make 6 of 7 field-goal attempts in the last five games.
Up Next – The winner will play Weber State or No. 8 seed Southern Utah in the quarterfinals on Dec. 8 or 9.
Prediction – All of the pressure is on the Dukes, but this season has been geared toward peaking in the playoffs. James Madison, 24-14.