Stephen F. Austin at Northern Iowa FCS Football 2014 Playoffs 1st Round Game Breakdown


Stephen F. Austin at Northern Iowa, Saturday, 8:00

Back in mid-October, Northern Iowa was 3-4 and their playoff hopes were slim. It was pretty clear that the Panthers would need to win out to feel safely in the playoffs. With games against Illinois State and North Dakota State, that would not be an easy task. But UNI was up to the challenge and won their last five contests by at least two touchdowns. Stephen F. Austin has had some quality wins throughout the year as well, beating Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State along the way. But this is a hot Northern Iowa team that can make a big playoff run.

The Lumberjacks have a very balanced offensive attack with running back Gus Johnson and dual-threat quarterback Zach Conque. Johnson rushed for 1,601 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Conque added 628 yards and 13 scores on the ground. That is a lot of production on the ground. Stephen F. Austin will prefer to run some clock and keep the ball on the ground, but Conque can throw too. He added 2,650 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air. It is a tough matchup against the stout Northern Iowa defense though. But the Lumberjacks might be able to play better on defense than they usually do. At times, Northern Iowa can have a one-dimensional offense that goes through running back David Johnson. Stop Johnson and the Lumberjacks have a shot at winning a low scoring affair. However, this game is at Northern Iowa and even if it is low scoring, Northern Iowa is the team that has proven that they can make big plays that win games.

Projected Score: Northern Iowa 24, Stephen F. Austin 10


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