FCS Playoff Review: Northern Iowa 17, San Diego 3

CRAIG HALEY (STATS FCS Senior Editor=)
The Associated Press

The Score - Northern Iowa (9-4) beat San Diego (9-3) 17-3 in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

Story Line - UNI clamped down on San Diego's high-powered offense, allowing just 218 yards and a field goal while forcing four turnovers. Brawntae Wells had a 34-yard touchdown return in the game's first two minutes.

Game Ball - There were a lot of standouts on UNI's defense, including linebacker Bryce Flater (10 tackles) and safety Christian Jegen (seven tackles, 52-yard interception return, forced fumble).

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Key Stat - The Pioneer Football League champion Toreros entered the game averaging nearly 42 points and 499 yards per game, but couldn't overcome their four turnovers. In addition to Wells' TD, UNI scored one play after intercepting Reid Sinnett for a third time - Trevor Allen on a 7-yard run to put the game away with under three minutes remaining.

The Takeaway - If it's November, it's a UNI win because the Panthers are 60-11 in the month in coach Mark Farley's 19 seasons. The Missouri Valley runner-up have been outstanding defensively for most of the season, holding six opponents to 10 or fewer points.

Up Next - Northern Iowa, which is only 2-4 on the road, next plays at No. 7 seed South Dakota State (8-4) in the second round Dec. 7 (2 p.m. ET). The Jackrabbits lost three of their final five games in the regular season, but one of the wins was 38-7 at home against UNI on Nov. 16.

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