NACOGDOCHES – The UIW Cardinals playoff chances took a big hit as they fell 31-24 to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (2-8, 2-5) at Homer Bryce Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The loss is the third straight for the Cardinals, whose postseason hopes are in serious doubts after a breakout season a year ago.

The Lumberjacks took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as quarterback Thom Hutchings took SFA on a six-play, 34-yard drive, capping it off with a two-yard into the end zone. They added to their lead later in the quarter as Cam Arnold got loose for a 20-yard score.

UIW responded with 21 consecutive points to take the lead. The Cardinals’ defense stepped up with 12:46 to go as Andy Jennings recovered a fumble and dived into the end zone, cutting the deficit to 14-7.

Cardinals quarterback Jon Copeland led his team on a nine-play, 61-yard drive and finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game up 14-14. Just before halftime, Copeland hit Jaelin Campbell with a seven-yard pass for a score, putting UIW up 21-14 at the break.

Copeland finished the game by completing 35-of-62 for passes 349 yards. Kamden Perry had a career-best 105 yards.

The lone touchdown in the third quarter as Hutchings got past the Cardinals defense for a 21-yard touchdown run. In the fourth quarter, Stephen F. Austin went ahead for good when Arnolds hit Xavier Gipson with a 70-yard bomb for a score, putting the Lumberjacks up 28-21. Both teams would tack on field goals but UIW would get no closer than that.


The UIW Cardinals are now 5-5 (4-4, Southland) on the season and will return to the field next Saturday when they take on New Mexico State at 3 p.m. for their penultimate game of the season.

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Stephen Michael 26, is a journalist, social media coordinator, host, and entertainment reporter. Michael graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and earned a Master's Degree in Digital Media in 2020 from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked covering the San Antonio Rampage, Stars, and San Antonio Futbol Club. He was the host of the Project Spurs Roundtable on NBC affiliate News 4 San Antonio from 2015-17.


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