FCS Playoff Game Breakdown: San Diego at Northern Iowa

San Diego at Northern Iowa
Wanna talk offense? The Toreros will oblige. San Diego has yet to score less than 31 points in a game this year, third highest scoring team in FCS. I know, they play in the Pioneer Football League. True. But they also played two Big Sky teams in non-conference action. Both games were losses, but they nearly pulled the upset of then top five ranked UC-Davis. So don’t think they’ll be intimidated. Senior quarterback Reid Sinnett is the mastermind; 3351 yards passing, 32 touchdowns, seven picks, another six touchdowns rushing. Yikes! Jojo Binda, Jr., Emilio Martinez and Terrence Smith all average 6.5 ypc on minimal usage. That makes for high efficiency. Michael Bandy frequently tops 100 receiving yards and finds the end zone an average of once per game. The defense just needs to be adequate most of the time and the offense will outscore just about everybody.
Northern Iowa come into the playoffs, likely with a chip on their shoulders. A seed seemed deserved having finished alone in second place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. But that’s how it goes sometimes. The offense is nothing like the Toreros, neither in scoring or efficiency. The team is led by freshman quarterback Will McElvain, who does have a 20/6 TD/INT ratio. And three of those interceptions came in one bad game at South Dakota State. The running game is a group of equal contributors but no real standout. The receiving game has been more effective this season. Isaiah Weston is a big play target but has not played the last few weeks and his status remains uncertain. A plethora of others are like the running backs, not really standing out, but all making contributions. The defense has been a typical UNI defense. They’re top 15 in scoring, top 15 in yardage.
San Diego knew they’d be traveling for the playoffs, they always do. But in a way, this has to be as good of a result as any for them to go. UNI plays in a dome. Much better than some of the trips these SoCal fellas have gone to in Montana. Can San Diego handle UNI’s physicality? Can UNI slow down this potent offense? Those answers will tell you who wins.
Prediction: Northern Iowa 34, San Diego 24