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FCS playoffs: No. 1 Sam Houston State opens vs. Stony Brook

The Sports Network

By Sean Shapiro, FCS Assistant

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 3rd, 3 p.m. (et).

FACTS & STATS: Site: Elliott T. Bowers Stadium (14,000) - Huntsville, Texas. Surface: Natural Grass. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Dan Gutowsky and Warrick Dunn. Home Record: Stony Brook 6-1; Sam Houston State 6-0. Away Record: Stony Brook 3-2; Sam Houston State 4-0. Neutral Record: Stony Brook 0-0; Sam Houston State 1-0. Series Record: First meeting. Conference: Stony Brook - Northeast; Sam Houston State - Southland. Nicknames: Stony Brook Seawolves; Sam Houston State Bearkats. Sports Network/Fathead.com Ranking: Stony Brook (22); Sam Houston State (1). NCAA Playoff Seedings: Stony Brook (NS); Sam Houston State (1). Head Coaches: Stony Brook - Chuck Priore (6th year, 37-30 at Stony Brook; 76-39 Overall); Sam Houston State - Willie Fritz (19th year, 17-5 at Sam Houston State, 153-57-1 Overall). All-Time Record: Stony Brook (142-142-2); Sam Houston State (457-443-34). FCS Playoff Records: Stony Brook (1-0); Sam Houston State (3-4). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Stony Brook 0; Sam Houston State 4 (1986, 1991, 2001, 2004).

GAME NOTES: Statistically, the top two scoring offenses in the nation will go head-to-head when Stony Brook travels more than 1,600 miles to visit Sam Houston State. However, the Seawolves have yet to face a defense as dominant as the Bearkats'.

Stony Brook running backs Miguel Maysonet (130 ypg) and Brock Jackolski (111 ypg) have both rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the second straight season and benefit from the rotation, which always leaves one well-rested back in the game. In last week's 31-28 first-round victory against Albany, the rotation continued as each back touted the ball 22 times.

Sam Houston State has its own explosive running back duo in Tim Flanders and Richard Sincere. Flanders, the Southland Conference Player of the Year, runs out of a more traditional offense formation, scoring 22 total touchdowns, while Sincere is an all-purpose player who operates the "Wild Bearkat" formation. Carrying the ball anywhere from eight to 10 times a game, Sincere averages 7.9 yards per carry and is responsible for 12 total touchdowns.

While the Seawolves' run - literally - to the playoffs has been impressive, Maysonet and Jackolski could struggle to pick up yards against Sam Houston State. Armed with the top-ranked rushing defense in the FCS (59 ypg), the Bearkats haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.

It's not a good sign for Stony Brook that it scored only 31 points against Albany last week. Before the game, the Seawolves had scored at least 40 points in seven straight games. They might need to hit at least 40 points again if they plan to upset the top-seeded Bearkats.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Sam Houston State 48, Stony Brook 24

11/30 11:47:59 ET