AS REPORTED IN THE NACOGDOCHES DAILY SENTINEL:
Stephen F. Austin State University is looking forward to its first consecutive playoff year since 1988-89 as the players prepare to face off against Pennsylvania's Villanova University Wildcats Saturday, said James Dixon, the director of athletic media relations at SFA.
"We have the privilege of hosting the defending national champion in our city, and that's pretty exciting just in itself, but it should be a great game," he said.
Villanova, like SFA, has several players who will likely move up to the next level, and the anticipated game is creating a lot of hype in the football world, he said.
Ticket sales so far have mostly been for reserve seats, but general admission should be taking off this week, said John Branch, assistant director of athletic affairs.
"We roll tailgating over, so if you have a regular season pass, your permit is good for the post-season, as well," Branch said. "The thing about this is it's an NCAA playoff ticket, and everybody has to have a ticket. There are no comps; there are no passes. You have to have a ticket or you don't get to watch the game."
Villanova will likely bring quite a few tailgaters as well, said Jeff Davis, the executive director of the SFA Alumni Association. They have about 1,300 alumni across the state, he said.
"Lumberjack Alley will open at noon, and kickoff is at 2:30 p.m.," he said. "We'll have our tailgate spot set up and something similar to most home games with food and drinks. Since the game is going to be televised with ESPN, we're working with our alumni associations across the United States to finalize plans for watch parties to cheer on the 'Jacks on TV for those who can't come to the game, too."
As far as economic impact to the city, this game is spot on, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Partain said.
"I think it's obviously another feather in the cap of SFA and the football department, and we'd like to congratulate them on another fine effort," he said. "Obviously, the team has attracted a lot of interest last year and this year, and Villanova has an exceptional reputation - they're last year's national champs - so there will be a lot of people here, I think."
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