#39 Stephen F. Austin FCS Football 2021 Preview

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Overall Rank: #39
#4 WAC
 Stephen F. Austin Logo
Stephen F. Austin joins the new WAC this year and will look to immediately tell the rest of the conference that they are not a team to overlook. The Lumberjacks played a ten game schedule in the fall and subsequently missed out on the spring season. In the fall, SFA did not have too many competitive games. Their four losses came against FBS competition and four of their wins came against lower-level teams. The only games of real significance they did win though were beating Abilene Christian 35-32 and Eastern Kentucky 24-6.
2020-21 Record: 6-4, 0-0
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Colby Carthel (9-13 at Stephen F. Austin, 68-31 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Storm
Defensive Coordinator: Scott Power
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jaquarion Turner, RB, 541 yards
Passing: Trae Self, QB, 2,008 yards
Receiving: Xavier Gipson, WR, 841 yards
Tackles: Brevin Randle, LB, 68
Sacks: BJ Thompson, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Bruce Harmon, CB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Da’Leon Ward, WR Jeremiah Miller, OL Justice Guillory, OL Zach Ingram, DB Tkai Lloyd, S Myles Heard, LB DayDay Coleman, CB Willie Roberts, CB Myles Brooks
Key Losses: WR Remi Simmons
Trae Self had another solid season, throwing for 2,008 yards and 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Self is also a threat to tuck the ball and run it. Xavier Gipson will again be Self’s favorite target after catching 52 passes for 841 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago. Receivers like Jeremiah Miller and Larry Jones III are experience pass catchers and at least take some of the attention away from Gipson. Jaquarion Turner and Da’Leon Ward are back to handle most of the carries. Turner tallied 541 yards with three touchdowns, while Ward added 265 yards on 56 carries in just six appearances. With nearly everybody back, the offense should be a bit more dynamic in 2021.
The defense returns much of their talent from 2020 as well. Overall, the unit was pretty good. They allowed 24 points apiece on tough road trips to UTEP and Texas-San Antonio. None of the four lower division teams managed more than a dozen points against the SFA defense. BJ Thompson is a proven pass rusher, but the rest of the line could do better when it comes to getting to the quarterback. But that year of experience for promising younger players like Caleb Fox, should help in that regard. Leading tackler Brevin Randle leads the group of linebackers and the secondary is loaded with experienced playmakers.
The Bottom Line:
The schedule is going to be tough for Stephen F. Austin with some quality teams in what is being called the AQ7, that is the seven teams moving into a new conference and getting automatic qualification into the FCS playoffs. The first of those games is against reigning champions Sam Houston with a road trip to Jacksonville State the following week. That very easily could be an 0-2 start for Stephen F. Austin and it will be tough for them to seriously compete for an automatic playoff berth.
Projected Postseason:  None
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 125.3 (59th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 234.2 (32, 9)
Total Offense: 359.5 (38, 9)
Scoring Offense: 25.9 (37, 8)
Rushing Defense: 162.6 (61, 3)
Pass Defense: 209.4 (56, 2)
Total Defense: 372.0 (59, 2)
Scoring Defense: 22.4 (38, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (10, 1)
Sacks: 2.60 (27, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.10 (52, 4)