Northern Iowa 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Northern Iowa Panthers
Missouri Valley


Since the middle of October, Northern Iowa has been playing for their playoff lives. The Panthers started the season falling at Iowa and at Hawaii in a couple of close contests. After a couple of easy victories, UNI lost 20-19 at Indiana State and two weeks later lost their fourth game of the year against South Dakota State. Sitting there with a 3-4 record and some tough MVFC opponents yet to come, Northern Iowa was in trouble. One more loss and this team would be staring at a 7-5 record at best and that is probably not good enough for the playoffs, despite the brutal schedule. But Coach Mark Farley rallied his team each and every week and the Panthers won their last five games of the year, including wins over Illinois State and North Dakota State.

2014 Record: 8-4, 6-2
Coach: Mark Farley

Big Wins: 11/1 Illinois State (42-28), 11/8 North Dakota State (23-3)
Bad Losses: 10/4 at Indiana State (19-20), 10/18 South Dakota State (28-31)

The Panthers defense is occasionally susceptible through the air, but the unit as a whole is one of the best in the country. They have allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards and 20 points per game. Linebacker Jake Farley is a superb playmaker in the middle of the field and leads the team with tackles. Brett McMakin, Xavier Williams, Isaac Ales and Ronelle McNeil are all great linemen who are capable of wreaking havoc in the opponent’s backfield. Those four alone have accounted for 29 sacks and 52 tackles-for-loss. That makes life easy for the secondary and explains why they are among the best in the FCS when it comes to intercepting passes. Tim Kilfoy, Max Busher, Ray Mitchell and Deiondre’ Hall all have at least two interceptions on the year and Kilfoy has returned two for touchdowns.

It is tough to call an offense that has David Johnson a weakness. The senior back has had an amazing collegiate career and has rushed for 1,353 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. But he is not getting much space to operate at times with inconsistencies at quarterback for UNI. Coach Farley has run a two-quarterback system at times this year, rotating between senior Brion Carnes and junior Sawyer Kollmorgen. But it is Carnes who has led the team during the season ending winning streak. On the year he has thrown for just 941 yards and five touchdowns, with five interceptions, but his ability to make plays with his feet is something Kollmorgen cannot do. It really does open up options for Coach Farley in many situations. No longer can the opposition key in on Johnson in short yardage situations.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: David Johnson, RB, 1,353 yards
Passing: Sawyer Kollmorgen, QB, 1,401 yards
Receiving: Brett LeMaster, WR, 399 yards
Tackles: Jake Farley, LB, 100
Sacks: Brett McMakin, DL, 8.5
Interceptions: Tim Kilfoy, DB, 4; Deiondre’ Hall, DB, 4

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 160.7 (66th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 198.2 (79, 8)
Total Offense: 358.9 (84, 8)
Scoring Offense: 31.7 (37, 3)
Rushing Defense: 94.5 (5, 1)
Pass Defense: 202.2 (49, 5)
Total Defense: 296.6 (11, 2)
Scoring Defense: 18.5 (13, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.91 (7, 2)
Sacks: 3.82 (2, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.82 (47, 5)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    Second Round    Defeated Wofford
2011    Quarterfinals    Lost to Montana   
2010    First Round    Lost to Lehigh
2008    First Round    Defeated Maine
2008    Quarterfinals    Defeated New Hampshire
2008    Semifinals    Lost to Richmond
2007    First Round    Defeated New Hampshire
2007    Quarterfinals    Lost to Delaware
2005    First Round    Defeated Eastern Washington
2005    Quarterfinals    Defeated New Hampshire
2005    Semifinals    Defeated Texas State
2005    Championship    Lost to Appalachian State
2003    First Round    Defeated Montana State
2003    Quarterfinals    Lost to Delaware
2001    First Round    Defeated Eastern Illinois
2001    Quarterfinals    Defeated Maine
2001    Semifinals    Lost to Montana
1996    First Round    Defeated Eastern Illinois
1996    Quarterfinals    Defeated William & Mary
1996    Semifinals    Lost to Marshall
1995    First Round    Defeated Murray State
1995    Quarterfinals    Lost to Marshall
1994    First Round    Lost to Montana
1993    First Round    Lost to Boston University
1992    First Round    Defeated Eastern Washington
1992    Quarterfinals    Defeated McNeese State
1992    Semifinals    Lost to Youngstown State
1991    First Round    Defeated Weber State
1991    Quarterfinals    Lost to Marshall
1990    First Round    Lost to Boise State
1987    First Round    Defeated Youngstown State
1987    Quarterfinals    Defeated Arkansas State
1987    Semifinals    Lost to Louisiana Monroe
1985    Quarterfinals    Defeated Eastern Washington
1985    Semifinals    Lost to Georgia Southern

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central