Stony Brook's football coach Chuck Priore has had a masterful season, leading the Seawolves to an undefeated in-conference season (6-0) for the school’s first outright Big South Championship. His reward, aside from his second Big South Coach of the Year award, is a place in the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time in Stony Brook history.
Across the field a lot of history will stand before Priore in the first round matchup against Albany on Saturday at LaValle Stadium. Priore graduated from Albany in 1982 after spending three years as the team’s fullback, and was named captain for his senior year.
During his time at Albany, Priore was guided by coach Bob Ford. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bob Ford,” Priore said. “I wouldn’t be doing what I am today if it wasn’t for his leadership and guidance in my younger years.”
After graduation, Priore became disenchanted with his job in New York City and called Ford to tell him he wanted to return to Albany to volunteer and get his master’s degree. When a graduate assistant dropped off the staff, Ford gave Priore his first coaching gig as the running backs and strength coach. Three years later the Priore received his master’s and an offer to be the offensive coordinator at Union.
On Saturday, when Priore stares across the field to the opposing coach, Bob Ford will be there to stare back at him. Ford is in his 39th year as head coach at Albany, and he’s looking for his first FCS playoff win as well.
“I think we are fortunate playing a team we are somewhat familiar with,” Ford said in a press release. “Head coach Chuck Priore was one of our captains and coached for a period of time here. I have got a lot of respect for him and we are ready for the challenge."
Stony Brook will be led by its high-powered running game, ranked third in the FCS with over 287 yards per game. honors and will look to continue his stellar season. Maysonet broke Stony Brook’s single season record with 1,485 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns and grabbed top spot in school history with 27 rushing touchdowns, despite playing in just his second year with the Seawolves.
His partner in the backfield, Brock Jackolski, will also be tough for the Albany defense to stop. In his senior season, Jackolski will have the added incentive of playing to extend his collegiate career.
A surprise this year has been the play of quarterback Kyle Essington. After senior Michael Coulter went down with a season-ending injury in week five, Essington took over the starting job for the first time in his Stony Brook career and hasn’t lost a game yet.
The winner of Saturday’s game will take on Sam Houston State in the next round of the FCS playoffs on Dec. 3.