San Diego to face Northern Iowa in FCS Playoff opener

Sunday, November 24, 2019
by San Diego Athletics Communications

SAN DIEGO – After winning its sixth straight PFL championship, San Diego will face Northern Iowa on Saturday (11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT, ESPN3) in the first round of the FCS Playoffs, the selection committee announced.

The winner of the USD (9-2) and UNI (8-4) matchup will face No. 7 seed South Dakota State on Saturday, Dec. 7 (11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT, ESPN3).

The Toreros and the Panthers will square off in the UNI Dome (capacity: 16,324) in Cedar Falls, Iowa and can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on It is the first all-time meeting between the two schools.

The Toreros reached their fourth straight FCS Playoffs and fifth overall in program history after turning in a dominant conference season. USD went undefeated for the fourth consecutive campaign, a first in the PFL, by outscoring its opponents by a combined 218-point margin (359-141) over the eight-game schedule. It also only trailed for less than 25 minutes of total game action (24:46) and did not trail for the last 272:15 of the season.

The perfect 8-0 conference record extended San Diego’s active winning streak in league play to 37 games, the second-longest streak in FCS history and fourth-longest in Division I.

The matchup between the Toreros and Panthers will be one of the nation’s top offenses against one of the top defenses. San Diego boasts the second-best total offense in the country, averaging 498.8 yards per game, and the third-best scoring offense, with 41.7 points per contest. Defensively, UNI is 11th in total defense (307.3) and 14th in the nation in scoring defense (19.6 points).

USD starting quarterback Reid Sinnett, who is second in the country in passing efficiency and fifth in total offense, will be playing close to home in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. The redshirt senior and first-year starter is from Johnston, Iowa, which is about 120 miles from Cedar Falls.

A consistent postseason participant, San Diego is one of six teams to make the FCS Playoffs in each of the last four years, joined by North Dakota State, South Dakota State, James Madison, Weber State, and Wofford.

A total of 24 teams gained spots in the FCS Playoffs, with the top eight seeds earning first-round byes. In addition to 10 automatic qualifying spots, one of which was earned by San Diego, 14 at-large teams were chosen by the selection committee. The 24 teams are each vying for one of the two spots in the 2020 FCS Championship held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, January 11, 2020 (12 p.m. ET, ABC).