The 2018 FCS Playoffs are here and we've got game-by-game wrap ups.
[divider]COMPARE: Any Two FCS Players | Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
Southeast Missouri State 28
Stony Brook 14
Next up: Southeast Missouri State (9-3) at No. 2 Weber State (9-2)
Time/Date: December 1, 4:00 p.m. EST | TV: ESPN3
COMPARE: SEMO vs. Weber State
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Daniel Santacaterina, QB, Southeast Missouri State — The Redhawks' key to the game was their four forced turnovers, but it was Santacaterina who converted those bonus possessions into 28 third-quarter points. Statistically, Stony Brook outplayed SEMO, but it was Santacaterina cashing in on the Seawolves' mistakes that pushed the Redhawks into the second weekend. He finished with 136 passing yards and three touchdowns, alongside 35 rushing yards and a score.
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Justin Swift (SEMO), 12 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 FR, 1 INT
Zach Hall (SEMO), 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
Jordan Gowins (SBU), 16 rushes for 73 yards, 1 TD
Kristian Wilkerson (SEMO), 57 Receiving Yards, 2 TDs
Sam Kamara (SBU), 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks
DJ Freeman (SEMO), 4 tackles, 1 sack, 4 PBU, 1 QBH
THE TURNING POINT
Late in the third quarter, after the Redhawks had already gone up 21-14, the Seawolves got a defensive stop and forced a SEMO punt. Jake Reynolds' punt hit Donavin Washington, and SEMO's good fortune continued when Demarcus Rogers recovered the ball. One play later, Wilkerson hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass, and Stony Brook never recovered.
Saturday was a tough break for a Stony Brook team that was arguably the most rugged squad in the CAA, but the Seawolves just gave SEMO way too many short fields and extra possessions. It's a tough end for a quality program that definitely doesn't belong in the bottom half of the Colonial, but has also struggled to prove it's an A-list program. Stony Brook gets a pass for failing to knock off peak-juggernaut JMU in the playoffs in 2017, but until it can win games like Saturday's contest at SEMO, it'll remain as a B-level program. There's nothing wrong with living life as a top-20 program, but I think Chuck Priore and his staff have higher ambitions than that.
As for SEMO, the Redhawks' first-ever playoff win is a huge step in the right direction in its quest to take Jacksonville State's mantle as the OVC powerhouse. SEMO was within seconds of a conference title, and now, it'll play its first playoff encore in program history. Regardless of how or when this season ends, that's a big win for the future of the program. The next step for SEMO is to build on this success in 2019, so that playoff wins become a regular achievement, and not just a high-water mark.
"What an unbelievable third quarter. This team is special and continues to battle. We beat a very good Stony Brook team and it was exciting to see our defense get the momentum in the third quarter. It was an awesome win all-around." — SEMO head coach Tom Matukewicz
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
Despite the win, SEMO got mostly outplayed by a stout defensive team with a run-based offense. That's bad news for a team that has to go play No. 2 Weber State next weekend. Southeast has the toughness & trench play to hang with Weber for a while in an ugly, low-scoring game, but it'll need more consistent offense if it wants a legitimate shot at the quarterfinals.
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