Toreros Heading South for FCS Playoffs

USD's football team draws Nicholls St. in the first round

The last two years the Toreros have gone to Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo and Northern Arizona to win playoff games. This year they’ll have to travel a little farther.

USD is headed to Louisiana to face Nicholls St. in the 1st round of the FCS Playoffs next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1:00 San Diego time.

The 21st-ranked Toreros made a compelling case to host a 1st round playoff game. Since 6th-seeded U.C. Davis earned a bye the Pioneer League champs would have given then NCAA a single West Coast game on the opening playoff weekend. Instead the Toreros are off to the Bayou to face another very good football team.

Nicholls St. opened the season with a 26-23, OT win over Kansas in Lawrence. Granted the Jayhawks are terrible (good luck, Les Miles, you’re gonna need it) but a win over a Power-5 school on the road is impressive in any context.

The Colonels are 14th in the nation in rushing. USD is 103rd in the nation in rushing defense. But they’ve played two of the top three rushing attacks in the country in Davidson and Jacksonville (1st and 3rd respectively) so they should be well accustomed to dealing with a run-heavy attack.

Nicholls St. hasn’t faced an offense like the one USD will throw at them and when I say throw I mean literally throw. The Toreros have the nation’s number two passing offense, led by senior QB Anthony Lawrence. The Grossmont HS alum threw for 3,785 yards with 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

He has a gaggle of targets to utilize but nobody gets as much work as junior wideout Michael Bandy, who led the nation with 1,554 receiving yards and hauled in 14 touchdowns.

The winner of this game will go to Eastern Washington to face the 3rd-seeded Eagles on their garish red turf. So that’s actually a step up for the Toreros. The last two years they made a trip to North Dakota State, the #1 national seed, meaning they were the lowest-seeded team in the field. USD also cracked the Top-25 for the first time ever a week ago so it appears success is slowly thawing the bias against the non-scholarship program that’s a whole lot better than people realized.

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