Stony Brook will begin the FCS playoffs without starting quarterback Kyle Essington in the lineup.
Essington will miss Saturday's first-round game against Villanova because of a right thigh contusion, Newsday reported.
Essington is the FCS leader in passing efficiency (175.83) and has thrown for 1,910 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.
Backup quarterback Lyle Negron, a junior who has attempted five passes this season, will make his first career start at LaValle Stadium. He will be backed up by junior Craig Geoghan and freshman Pat D'Amato.
Stony Brook has a 9-2 record; Villanova is 8-3. The winner will advance to play third-seeded Montana State in a second-round game on Dec. 1.