Northern Iowa to face Eastern Washington in FCS playoffs

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Northern Iowa running back Bradrick Shaw carries the ball up field during an NCAA college football game against Southern Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Northern Iowa has snuck into the FCS playoffs and will face Eastern Washington in the opening round on Saturday.

Northern Iowa (6-5) will play at Eastern Washington (9-2) on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m.

The winner of the Northern Iowa-Eastern Washington game will face No. 6 Montana (9-2) on Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. The first and second rounds will be streamed on ESPN+.

Northern Iowa played a difficult schedule in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, finishing in sixth place. Despite the 6-5 record, Northern Iowa beat three playoff teams this season which boosted its resume.

Six teams from the Missouri Valley made the playoffs, the most of any conference. North Dakota State, Missouri State, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Southern Illinois were the other Missouri Valley teams to qualify.

The FCS playoffs include 24 teams. Eleven conference champions automatically qualified, and an additional 13 teams earned at-large bids selected by the FCS Playoff Committee. The top eight seeds receive a bye week.

Sam Houston (10-0), the reigning national champions, earned the top seed in the playoffs. Missouri Valley champions North Dakota State (10-1) are the No. 2 seed. No. 3 James Madison, No. 4 Sacramento State, No. 5 Villanova, No. 6 Montana, No. 7 East Tennessee State and No. 8 Montana State round out the top eight seeds.

The FCS playoffs conclude with the national championship in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.

Find the full bracket here.

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