SFA On The Road To Open SLC Play
Oct. 21, 2004
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE OPENER: With a successful non-conference portion of the season under its belt, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team now begins a run of five straight weeks of Southland Conference play. The 'Jacks open the SLC season with the Bobcats of Texas State under the guidance of first year head coach David Bailiff. SFA enters this week's game coming off a hard fought 22-19 win over the UC Davis Aggies. The 'Jacks had to rally from a 19-14 halftime deficit to post its third victory of the season over a ranked opponent. Texas State enters the game riding a three game losing streak, including a 38-21 loss to Cal Poly last Saturday. Texas State found itself in a big hole against Cal Poly, trailing 35-14 with almost seven minutes remaining in the first half. Texas State added a touchdown in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14, but couldn't get any closer to the Mustangs. This week's game marks the first time since the 1999 season the Lumberjacks and Bobcats have opened the conference season against each other. SFA won that meeting 28-17, in Nacogdoches.
vs TEXAS STATE: This will be the 78th meeting between the Bobcats and Lumberjacks. Texas State leads the overall series 49-27-1. SFA has won eight of the last 11 meetings including three straight. The Lumberjacks are 3-7 in the last 10 games in San Marcos. The 'Jacks won last year in Nacogdoches, 44-27. For more on last year's game, see page 6.
THE OPPONENT: While the Bobcats went only 2-4 in non-conference play, those numbers could be misleading. Texas State is much improved under first year head coach David Bailiff and has been in every game its played so far this season. Three of Texas State's four losses have been by seven points. Texas State is 2-1 at home this season with wins over Angelo State (45-10) and Southeastern Louisiana (31-28 ot) and a 20-13 loss to Florida Atlantic two weeks ago. The Bobcats suffered their worst loss of the season this past week with a 38-21 loss to ninth ranked Cal Poly. One year removed from an offensive system in which the pass was the top priority, the Bobcats enter this week's game rushing the ball for an average of 223.0 yards per game. Terrell Harris and Douglas Sherman are sharing the load for the Bobcats with Harris leading the team with 393 yards and seven touchdowns on 68 carries. Sherman has added 366 yards and three scores on 70 carries, while quarterback Barrick Nealy has also added 70 carries for 251 yards and a touchdown. Nealy is also passing for an average of 187.2 yards per game for Texas State.
THE COACHES: SFA is coached by Mike Santiago (Southern Utah, 1977) now in his sixth season at SFA. Santiago has posted a 38-23 record as a college head coach, all with SFA. In his first season, he led the Lumberjacks to a share of the Southland title (1999). The 'Jacks have won at least six games each season under Santiago and a winning record in 2004 will mark the longest such streak in SFA history. The Lumberjacks are 16-14 on the road under Mike Santiago. The Bobcats are coached by first year head coach David Bailiff (Texas State, 1981). A former Bobcat assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, Bailiff returned to his alma mater after spending the previous three seasons with the TCU Horned Frogs. Bailiff was an all-conference player for the Bobcats from 1977-80. He was named the AFCA I-AA Assistant Coach of the Year in 1999 while a member of Bob DeBesse's staff at Texas State. ™