Northern Iowa at Portland State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown

Northern Iowa at Portland State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown


Northern Iowa at Portland State, Saturday, 10:00

Northern Iowa crushed Eastern Illinois 53-17 in the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Aaron Bailey only needed to complete seven passes, but three of them went for touchdowns. Bailey was making even more plays with his legs and running back Tyvis Smith rushed for 147 yards on 24 carries. The defense did what they did all season long, pick off passes and stuff the run. Eastern Illinois netted just 76 yards on the ground and were intercepted three times.

The reward for Northern Iowa is a trip to Portland State. The Vikings have had an amazing season, highlighted by wins over Washington State and a 66-7 win over North Texas, the largest of margin of victory for an FCS team over an FBS team. They have a stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack that has proven they can grind out close games even against solid offenses. In the final two regular season games of the year, Portland State beat Southern Utah 24-23 and Eastern Washington 34-31.  

It will be interesting to see what the Portland State offense can do against the Northern Iowa defense. Running back David Jones has 1,080 rushing yards on the year and quarterback Alex Kuresa has made some big plays too, especially once the opposing defense starts creeping in to stop Jones. If Kuresa can avoid mistakes, Portland State has an offense that can score against Northern Iowa. The fact that UNI tends to stay on the ground also favors Portland State. Their main weakness is in the secondary and a team with a patient and experienced quarterback can pick them apart. Bailey has plenty of experience, but he is not the type of quarterback that will pick apart a defense. But Northern Iowa has been on this stage before. This is Portland State’s first playoff appearance since 2000, where they lost to Delaware in the first round. This could be one of the more interesting, and entertaining, second round games in the playoffs.

Projected Score: Northern Iowa 21, Portland State 24


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