SFA To Close Out Regular Season At Northwestern State
Nov. 19, 2003
REGULAR SEASON FINALE: SFA goes on the road for the final regular season game of 2003 this week as the 'Jacks travel to Natchitoches, La. to take on Northwestern State. SFA still has faint hopes of sharing the Southland Conference title, but must win and get some help from Nicholls State against McNeese State. The game also marks the "Battle For Chief Caddo" with SFA seeking its first win in the series since 2000. The Lumberjacks enter play coming off a 28-16 win over Nicholls State, and have won four of the last five games played. Northwestern State meanwhile has lost three straight entering this week's game. two of the three losses have been by less than seven points.
This week's meeting with Northwestern State will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net beginning at 3:00 p.m.
LAST GAME vs NICHOLLS STATE: The Lumberjacks moved to 3-1 in Southland Conference play in winning the fifth straight over the Nicholls State Colonels. The 'Jacks moved to 15-5 all-time against the Colonels winning the ninth straight game between the two teams in Nacogdoches. With the win, the Lumberjacks moved to 6-4 on the year and have now posted winnings seasons each year under Mike Santiago (five straight). The 'Jacks got three touchdown passes from Michael Williams in handing the Colonels a 28-16 loss. Williams finished the game 11-15-0 for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his three TD passes came on fourth down plays as he connected with WR Michael David on both scoring strikes. He also hooked up with Tony Tompkins for a 49-yard touchdown play late in the second quarter to give the 'Jacks a 14-7 lead at the half. Nicholls State rushed for 251 yards, 82 yards below its per game average. The Colonels rushed for only 89 yards in the second half of play.
THE SERIES: Northwestern State leads the series 38-13-3 and has won two straight over the Lumberjacks. SFA is 3-2 in Natchitoches since 1993 with wins coming in 1993 (51-20), 1995 (25-20), and 1999 (29-14). SFA lost in Natchitoches, La. in 2001, 17-31. The teams have split the last 10 games, 5-5.
THE OPPONENT: Northwestern State (6-5,1-3) has lost three straight entering play this week. All three were conference losses with two of the three defeats by less than seven points. The Demons are 4-1 at home so far in 2003, losing 40-30 to Nicholls State in the last game played in Turpin Stadium. Northwestern State is averaging 375.8 yards per game of total offense while giving up only 273.2 ypg. The Demons lead the Southland Conference in both total defense and scoring defense (20.09 ppg).
THE COACHES: SFA is coached by Mike Santiago (32-22) in his fifth season at SFA. Santiago led the Lumberjacks to a share of the Southland title in 1999, his first season at SFA. The Demons are coached by Scott Stoker (15-10) in his second season as the head coach at Northwestern State. Stoker, a former Demon quarterback coached with Santiago when both were assistants at McNeese State. Stoker led the Demons to a 9-4 record and a playoff appearance in his first season.