Northern Iowa at #5 Illinois State FCS Football 2014 Playoffs 2nd Round Game Breakdown


Northern Iowa at #5 Illinois State, Saturday, 2:00

Northern Iowa easily got past Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. The Panthers got off to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to running back David Johnson and kicker Michael Schmadeke, and never looked back. On the day, Johnson rushed for 152 yards and three scores and the defense held the Lumberjacks to just ten points. Quarterback Brion Carnes completed just five passes, but Coach Mark Farley just needs his quarterback to avoid turnovers and be a threat with his feet.

For the second round, Northern Iowa is off to Illinois State. Back on November 1st these two MVFC foes met in Cedar Falls and the Panthers beat Illinois State 42-28. UNI knows how to stop the run and Illinois State wants to keep the ball on the ground. In the earlier matchup, Redbirds running back Marshaun Coprich rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns, but that was not enough. This is a tough draw for Illinois State, but they should feel relatively confident that their ground game can do some damage against Northern Iowa.

It was really the four turnovers that doomed the Redbirds in the first meeting. UNI safety Tim Kilfoy picked off two passes and returned one for the game clinching touchdown. This contest could once again come down to turnovers. Both of these teams want to control the clock and run the ball, so it should be a relatively low scoring affair and one or two big turnovers will make all of the difference. Northern Iowa has a better defense, Illinois State has a better offense, but Illinois State can get revenge since this game is in Normal, Illinois.

Projected Score: Illinois State 24, Northern Iowa 21


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