In the FCS Huddle: Former Hofstra RB gets playoff redemption

Unlike most transfers, Brock Jackolski was left without a team rather than leaving one by his own accord.

A former running back at Hofstra, Jackolski delivered Stony Brook to a come- from-behind victory against Albany in Saturday's first round of the FCS playoffs. It's something he never got the chance to do at his now-defunct former program.

"Brock didn't leave Hofstra, they left him," Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore says.

In an emotional game on multiple levels - both Albany and Stony Brook were making FCS playoff debuts and Priore was facing against his mentor, Bob Ford - Jackolski was the big winner, scoring three total touchdowns in a 31-28 victory.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., and former high school star at William Floyd High School, Jackolski had one of his most impressive, of many, performances in the Empire State, compiling 232 all-purpose yards and helping Stony Book clinch a second-round trip to top-seeded Sam Houston State next Saturday.

However, Jackolski wasn't the only former Hofstra player in action in the first round of the playoffs.

His teammate, junior Miguel Maysonet, rushed for 75 yards on 22 carries and became the Big South's all-time leading rusher in a season with 1,560 yards.

Old Dominion defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, the 2011 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, helped lead the Monarchs to a 35-18 victory against new cross-town rival Norfolk State. Old Dominion will visit third-seeded Georgia Southern in the second round next Saturday.


James Madison kicker Cameron Starke missed a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter against Eastern Kentucky, or did he?

It was a close kick, one that sailed higher than the top of the uprights, and seemed like a good conversion until the officials signaled it wasn't. The play wasn't reviewed, but looking at the ESPNU broadcast the kick looked good.

Granted, the kick became a non-factor as Starke hit another 35-yard attempt, this one as time expired, to give the Dukes a 20-17 victory.

However, the so-called missed kick does raise a question - should replay be expanded on the FCS level? It kicks in - no pun intended - in the second round of the playoffs.

Perhaps a second look by the officials at what the ESPNU broadcast captured Saturday would have led to three more James Madison points.


Central Arkansas (which defeated Tennessee Tech, 34-14), Stony Brook and Old Dominion all registered the first FCS playoff victories in program history.

While surprise teams seem to come out every season, all three programs seem to be built for the long haul, even if the season ends with a loss to one of the top four seeds in the second round.

Old Dominion, which will visit Georgia Southern, has impressive facilities, a great fan following and, more importantly, a leader to prove the first year of CAA play was more than beginners' luck. Freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke was superb against Norfolk State, throwing for five touchdowns, and looks like a future star - if not already - for the Monarchs.

Speaking of facilities, Central Arkansas has the most unique field at any level of college football with its purple and gray turf. It's a valuable recruiting tool that coach Clint Conque can use to build on the Bears reaching the playoffs in the just their second season of eligibility.

Stony Brook proved it was the class of the Big South by dethroning Liberty as the conference champion. However, of the three teams that picked up key first playoff wins, the Seawolves seem to have the toughest competition to stay a perennial power. Old Dominion and Central Arkansas both play in leagues that more than likely will, and often do, get at least two playoff bids. Stony Brook plays in a one-bid league, and Liberty is a starving program - one hungry for a playoff berth it feels it deserves.


With the first round games complete, the second round is shaping up to be a high-scoring weekend.

Stony Brook visits Sam Houston State in a battle of the top scoring teams in the FCS, while Lehigh at Towson, Montana at Central Arkansas, New Hampshire at Montana State and Wofford at Northern Iowa, Old Dominion at Appalachian State all look like match-ups that will keep the scoreboard operators busy.

In fact, of the 16 teams remaining in the playoffs, all but two are ranked in the top 50 for scoring offense (Northern Iowa - 51st, James Madison - 79th).


One voter's ballot for the 2011 FCS awards:

Walter Payton Award (FCS outstanding player)

1. Shakir Bell, Indiana State, RB

2. Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, QB

3. Terrance West, Towson, RB

4. Jonathan Grimes, William & Mary, RB

5. Chris Lum, Lehigh, QB

Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player)

1. L.J. Fort, Northern Iowa, LB

2. Matt Evans, New Hampshire, LB

3. Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M, DE

4. Justin Bethel, Presbyterian, CB

5. Kejuan Riley, Alabama State, FS

Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year)

1. Terrance West, Towson, RB

2. Chuck Diblio, Princeton, RB

3. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, QB

4. Dillon Lucas, Villanova, LB

5. Michael German, Tennessee State, QB

Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year)

1. Rob Ambrose, Towson

2. Kevin Kelly, Georgetown

3. Willie Fritz, Sam Houston State

4. Bob Ford, Albany

5. Pete Adrian, Norfolk State

All four awards are presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by