NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team recorded its first postseason victory since the 1995 season with a 44-33 win over Eastern Washington Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
The `Jacks took an 11-point lead into the locker room at halftime, and exploded in the second half. Junior quarterback Jeremy Moses guided SFA to back-to-back touchdowns to give SFA a commanding a 37-12 lead with 5:54 remaining in the quarter. The `Jacks pushed their advantage to 25 points before the Eagles mounted a rally late in the third quarter.
EWU quarterback Matt Nicholls guided the Eagles on a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a Taiwan Jones two-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 44-26 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the contest. The Eagles were able to tack on another score to cut the deficit to 11 points with just over nine minutes remaining.
Eastern Washington appeared to be moving the ball again until freshman corner Jordan Aubrey picked off his second pass in as many weeks. The pass ended a string of 268 consecutive passes without a pick for Nicholls.
The Lumberjacks finished the game with 595 yards of total offense, while Eastern Washington recorded 563 yards. Moses completed 43-of-57 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns, but also had three interceptions. Nicholls, the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, was 43-of-76 for 461 yards and three touchdowns on the night.
Moses connected with nine different receivers led by senior Duane Brooks who tied a school record with his 15 receptions for 124 yards. Brooks became the first player in Southland Conference history to record 100 receptions in a season with his fifth catch of the night. Brandon Scott finished with 11 catches for 89 yards and two scores, all three marks are new career highs for the sophomore wide out. Freshman Cordell Roberson also added four catches for 89 yards and a score in the game.
Senior Vincent Pervis led the SFA ground attack with 16 carries for 125 yards. Freshman Romonte Hampton added five carries for 28 yards and a score.
The Lumberjack defense finished the night with five players in double figure tackles. Junior Jabara Williams led the way with 15 tackles, and a sack. Aubrey, and junior Chad Haynes each added 14 tackles.
SFA returns to action Saturday, Dec. 5, when they travel to Missoula, Mont., to take on the Grizzlies. Montana advances to the second round of the playoffs after its come-from-behind win over South Dakota State, 61-48. The Grizzlies scored 40 unanswered points in the final 20:25 to defeat the Jackrabbits.