#27 Stephen F. Austin FCS Football 2013 Preview

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Overall Rank: #27
#3 Southland
#27 Stephen F. Austin FCS Football 2013 Preview
Stephen F. Austin Team Page


Despite one of the most potent offenses in the nation, Stephen F. Austin could never get any momentum going during the 2012 campaign. After every win, there was a loss. The Lumberjacks won their five home games and lost all six of their road contests. It was their first losing season in four years. The schedule does not get much easier, but the defense can only get better and the offense can drop 50 points on just about anybody.

2012 Record: 5-6, 4-3
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: J.C. Harper (34-36 at Stephen F. Austin, 34-36 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Chris Truax
Defensive Coordinator: David Gibbs

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Gus Johnson, RB, 969 yards
Passing: Brady Attaway, QB, 3,671 yards
Receiving: D.J. Ward, WR, 762 yards
Tackles: Collin Garrett, LB, 96
Sacks: Darren Robinson, DE, 7.5
Interceptions: Caleb Nelson, DB, 2; Jordan Aubrey, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Mike Brooks, OL Ryne Chambers, OL Andrew Ratliff, OL Terran Vaughn, DE Malcolm Mattox, DB Trey Vallier, DL Ishmiah Miles, K Jordan Wiggs

Key Losses: RB Doug Gentry, WR Cordell Roberson, WR Ryan Gambel, LB Ryan Epperson, DB Cedric Barlow, DE Willie Jefferson, OL John Steel

Quarterback Brady Attaway has been among the FCS leader in touchdowns during the last two seasons. He has also thrown 43 interceptions during that span, leading the nation in both 2011 and 2012. Despite the interceptions, Attaway is a very good quarterback and he will be in for a big senior season. D.J. Ward and Mike Brooks are the most experienced receivers, yet there is talent all over the field. Marquis Mosley, a 6-4 junior, is an interesting player to keep an eye on. He caught just 18 passes in 2012, but his size will make him an interesting option to fill in for the departed Cordell Roberson and Ryan Gambel out wide. Gus Johnson took over the running back duties as a sophomore and tallied 954 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. He is a powerful runner who helps make it look like Stephen F. Austin is at least thinking about being a balanced offense.

Last year the Lumberjacks ranked 117th in the nation and last in the Southland in turnover margin. That is a great way to put an average defense under a huge amount of pressure. In fact, the unit allowed the second fewest yards per game in the Southland, yet allowed the sixth most points. That is what happens when the opposition does not have very far to go. The potential is there for the secondary to tally more interceptions thanks to a strong pass rush. Big hitting end Willie Jefferson is gone, but Darren Robinson is a superb talent who lives in the opposition’s backfield. Ishmiah Miles is ready to step into a full-time starting spot opposite of Robinson. Linebacker Collin Garrett recorded a team high 96 tackles in 2012 and is a nice piece to build around. Safety Caleb Nelson will have to emerge as the leader of the secondary after tallying 66 tackles and two interceptions. The team as a whole picked off a mere nine passes and Coach J.C. Harper will need to find a couple defensive backs that are capable of becoming playmakers.

The Bottom Line:
This is a team that allowed an average of 44 points during their six losses last year. It really does not matter how good the offense is when that many points are being scored. Attaway and company are going to put points on the board, and a lot of them, but the turnover battle is going to be huge. Attaway has to play his part and not throw 20 interceptions again this year and the defense can really only be better. That may not be enough to win the Southland title with squads like Central Arkansas and Sam Houston State sporting talented teams again in 2013, but the Lumberjacks have the firepower to pull off an upset or two along the way and make things interesting.

Projected Postseason: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 117.64 (96th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 385.45 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 503.09 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 34.09 (14, 3)
Rushing Defense: 120.00 (15, 3)
Pass Defense: 221.55 (70, 5)
Total Defense: 341.55 (35, 2)
Scoring Defense: 33.45 (101, 6)
Turnover Margin: -1.36 (117, 8)
Sacks: 2.64 (21, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.91 (10, 2)


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