FACTS & STATS: Site: UNI-Dome (16,324) – Cedar Falls, Iowa. Surface: Synthetic.
Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Shawn Kenney, Al Groh. Home Record: Stephen
F. Austin 5-2; Northern Iowa 5-1. Away Record: Stephen F. Austin 3-1; Northern
Iowa 3-3. Neutral Record: Stephen F. Austin 0-1; Northern Iowa 0-0. Series
Record: Northern Iowa (6-3). Last Meeting: September 10, 2011 (Northern Iowa,
34-23). Series Streak: Stephen F. Austin has won two of the last three
meetings. Conference: Stephen F. Austin – Southland; Northern Iowa – Missouri
Valley. Nicknames: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks; Northern Iowa Panthers. Head
Coaches: Stephen F. Austin – Clint Conque (1st season, 8-4 at Stephen F.
Austin, 15th season, 113-63 overall); Northern Iowa – Mark Farley (14th year,
119-55 at Northern Iowa and Overall). Playoff Records: Stephen F. Austin (7-6);
Northern Iowa (19-16). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Stephen F. Austin 6
(1988-89, 1993, 1995, 2009-10); Northern Iowa 16 (1985, 1987, 1990-96, 2001,
2003, 2005, 2007-08, 2010-11). Playoff Streak: Stephen F. Austin has lost its
last two FCS playoff games; Northern Iowa has lost its three of its last four
FCS playoff games.
GAME NOTES: Look who is lurking in the first round: A pair of opponents who
both posted wins over teams who were ranked in the Top 10 at that time – SFA
against Southland rivals Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State, and UNI
against Missouri Valley foes Illinois State and North Dakota State.
UNI comes from the tougher conference and has more momentum with a five-game
streak. During that time, All-American running back David Johnson has been
soaring, including a career-high 205 rushing yards against Missouri State last
Saturday. Plus, the Panthers have changed their look with mobile QB Brion
Carnes having taken over the offense.
Defensively, the Panthers gobble up sacks (47) like they’re Thanksgiving
turkey. Brett McMakin, Xavier Williams and Isaac Ales each has at least eight
That’s going to put pressure on Stephen F. Austin quarterback Zach Conque.
Fortunately for the Lumberjacks, the son of coach Clint Conque is big and
mobile, and he’s really raised his play in the second half of the season. That
makes senior running back Gus Johnson (1,601 rushing yards, 22 total TDs) even
more effective – not that he needs it.
Opponents are averaging 405.1 yards and 27.2 points per game against SFA. That
might be a difference maker in this matchup. If not, UNI has one in place-
kicker Michael Schmadeke, who is 24-for-26 on field goals, making every attempt
within 48 yards.
The winner will advance to a second-round game at No. 5 seed Illinois State on
PREDICTION: Johnson versus Johnson is a great matchup of running backs. UNI
just has too many advantages elsewhere. Northern Iowa, 33-21.