UNI Gridders at Iowa Saturday
Panthers jump to no. 9 in The Sports Network poll.
Sept. 12, 2005
CEDAR FALLS - THE GAME: UNI vs. IOWA Saturday (Sept. 17) in Iowa City, IA. Kinnick Stadium (70,397/Natural) is the site, with kickoff set for 2:35 p.m. Central.
TELEVISION: The UNI-Iowa game will be telecast live on ESPN Plus, which includes CBS2 (KGAN-TV Cedar Rapids), KDSM (Des Moines), KXLT (Mason City), KYOU (Ottumwa), KWQC (Quad Cities), Cable One (Sioux City) and Cox Cable Omaha. The game also will be available on the ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view and online services. Larry Morgan and Marv Cook will be the announcers.
THE SERIES: Iowa leads this series, which began in the 1898 season, 12-1, including 12-0 in Iowa City. UNI's only win was in the inaugural season, 11-5 in Cedar Falls. The Panthers and Hawkeyes renewed the series in 1995 after having not played since the 1914 season. The Hawks won in 1995 34-13, and the last game played in 1997, 66-0, which was former head coach Mike Dunbar's Panther debut.
PRESS LUNCHEONS: UNI head coach Mark Farley or one of his staff will be available at the weekly Press Luncheons held each Monday beginning at 12 noon in the back room of Pepper's Grill and Sports Pub located on 18th Street in Cedar Falls.
INTERVIEWS: UNI head coach Mark Farley will be available at the weekly Press Luncheons held each Monday. Otherwise, you may contact him weekday mornings between 11 a.m. and 12 noon at 319-273-5674.
Players will be available before or after practice or by telephone. Contact UNI Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Nancy Justis at 319-273-6354 to arrange all player interviews.
UNI's practices are open to the public. However, it is requested you contact Justis before attending any practices.
THE COACHES: UNI head coach Mark Farley (UNI '86) is in his fifth year at the Panther helm, 2-0 this year, 35-16 overall. Prior to being appointed at UNI, he served as the linebackers assistant and punt block/return specialist at Kansas from 1997-2000.
A UNI player from 1983-86 and a co-Gateway Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1985, he then was a Panther graduate assistant from 1986-88 and a fulltime assistant from 1989-96, coaching linebackers and special teams while also serving as Strength and Speed Coordinator, in addition to Recruiting Coordinator for one year.
Farley was a candidate for 2003's Eddie Robinson Award, finishing 10th in the balloting. He was named Bruce Craddock Gateway Coach of the Year and AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year in 2001 when the Panthers advanced to the 1-AA semfinals. He placed third in the Eddie Robinson balloting in 2001.
Kirk Ferentz (Connecticut '78) is in his seventh year with the Hawkeyes, 1-1 this year, 43-32 overall. Prior to being named at Iowa, he coached the offensive line with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns from 1993-98, was head coach at Maine from 1990-92, and first served Iowa as offensive line coach from 1981-89 under Hayden Fry.
POLL TALK: UNI, which ranked 25th in the final 2004 Sports Network poll, was ranked no. 12 in TSN's and the ESPN/USA Today preseason polls. It also was tied for ninth in the AGS poll, 10th by Sports Illustrated.com, was 17th in Don Hansens' National Weekly Football Gazette, and was tied for 18th by Lindy's. Dopke.com had UNI ranked ninth preseason.
The Panthers jump three spots to no. 9 in this week's Sports Network poll and also is ninth in the AGS poll.
Iowa fell 14 spots to no. 22 in this week's AP poll after losing at Iowa State on Saturday, 23-3, and is no. 21 in the USA Today poll.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Panthers went 2-2 in non-conference games last year and are 2-0 so far this season. UNI is the only original Gateway member to win at least two non-conference games each year. The Panthers now are 91-41 against non-conference teams since 1985.
LAST WEEK: The Panther offense delivered another flurry of points with quarterback Eric Sanders leading the way in a 49-14 drumming of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The sophomore completed 12-of-14 attempts for a career-high 311 yards and three scores.
An 11-minute stalemate opened the contest with neither team budging or taking advantage. The Panthers broke the trend with a one-yard Terrance Freeney TD run as the first quarter came to a close. UNI opened the second quarter with a 41-yard TD strike from Sanders to Brian Cutright to top off a five-play, 63-yard sprint to pay dirt. Sanders found Patrick Hunter with a 57-yard TD connection just five minutes later, putting the score at 21-0 with over nine minutes remaining in the half.
The Bulldogs found the end zone with just over four minutes remaining to bring the score to 21-7, but Sanders found Justin Surrency for a 26-yard TD toss to put the Panther advantage back at 21 points. Freeney ended the first half with his second one-yard TD lunge, putting the score at 35-7.
The running game took center stage in the second half, with UNI eating up over 100 yards to help kill the clock. David Horne scampered 33 yards for the sixth UNI TD, giving the Panthers a 42-17 lead early in the third quarter. Freshman Corey Lewis topped off a 13-play, 56-yard drive with a one-yard TD run with under a minute to go in the third.
UMD scored with just five seconds remaining in the game for the final score.
Horne led the rushing attack with 57 yards on four carries and he also caught a 24-yard pass. Freeney and Lewis each carried 11 times for 33 and 43 yards, respectively. As a team, UNI gained 189 yards on the ground on 42 attempts. Clifford Waters led the defense with 7.5 tackles.
As a team, the Panthers gained over 500 yards for the second week in a row, this time around for 523 yards, including 334 through the air. It allowed just 274 yards, including only 62 rushing yards.
IOWA TIDBITS: Iowa is 1-1 overall after defeating Ball State 56-0 in the season opener on Sept. 3 and losing at Iowa State 23-3 last Saturday. The Hawkeyes return 45 lettermen, including 12 starters, from last year's 10-2 team which won the Big 10 title with a 7-1 record.
Replacing four starters on the defensive line was perhaps the biggest challenge for Kirk Ferentz and his staff, but an experienced offensive line and receiving corps returns along with quarterback Drew Tate, a first team all-conference pick and MVP of the 2005 Capital One Bowl. Receiver Ed Hinkel led the team in receptions last year and Clinton Solomon led in yards. Linebacker Abdul Hodge earned first team all-conference honors for the second straight season after leading the team in tackles, while linebacker Chad Greenway was an all-American and was second on the squad in tackles. Corner Jovan Johnson tied for the team lead with four interceptions.
Sophomore Albert Young currently leads the ground attack with 23 carries for 201 yards and one TD, followed by freshman Shonn Greene's 116 yards and one TD on 18 carries. Tate has completed 14-of-21 passes with one interception and two TDs, but left the Iowa State game early with a concussion. Backup Jason Manson came in in relief and has completed 19-of-40 passes with one interception for 209 yards and no TDs so far this season.
Junior tight end Scott Chandler has eight catches for 79 yards and no TDs, Hinkel five catches for 62 yards and no TDs, and Solomon four for 40 yards and one TD. Ten other players have caught at least one pass. Hinkel leads the team with a 9.0 average on five punt returns and Damian Sims is averaging 20 yards on three kick returns.
Junior Kyle Schlicher has made one field goal from 44 yards and all eight PAT attempts, while John Gallery is averaging 45.6 yards on five punts and Andy Fenstermaker 45 yards on four punts.
Greenway and Hodge each have 15 tackles.
Iowa has a 19-game home winning streak dating back to 2002, ranking third in 1-A.
PICKING IT UP: Sophomore quarterback Eric Sanders has picked up where he left off last season. He's now 8-1 as the starter after taking over for the injured Tom Petrie in the fourth game last year and has led the Panthers to eight straight wins. He threw for a career-high 289 yards against Drake on 14-of-17 passing, at one point completing 11 consecutive passes. He threw TD passes of 34, 36 and 30 yards and rushed four times for 16 yards, with a long run of 19. Against Minnesota Duluth, he was 12-of-14 passing for a new career-high 311 yards and three TDs. Thus, so far this season he has completed 26-of-31 passes with no interceptions for 600 yards and six TDs, ranking him first in 1-AA this week in efficiency.
THE CONNECTION: Current UNI assistant coach Erik Chinander played in the offensive line for the Hawkeyes from 1998-2003 and was a member of the 2001 Alamo Bowl Championship team and the 2002 and '03 Orange Bowl teams. He was given the 2003 Hawkeye Offensive Team Leader Award.
NEW FACES STEP UP: For the second straight week, UNI was able to spread the ball around quite a bit in its 49-14 win over Minnesota Duluth. This time, six different players scored, nine different players carried the ball, and eight different players caught passes.
The Panthers received stats from 13 new faces in their win over Drake. Redshirt freshman Corey Lewis led UNI in rushing with 10 carries for 51 yards, while Nebraska transfer, senior tailback David Horne, rushed for 44 yards and one TD on nine carries while catching three passes for a team-high 68 yards. Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Nelson, son of UNI assistant coach Rick Nelson, completed two-of-three passes for 27 yards and one TD. Senior Akron transfer, receiver Jamie Goodwin, also caught three passes for 53 yards and a TD. Freshman tailback David Shields rushed four times for 16 yards and freshman receiver Johnny Gray rushed one time for one yard. He also led the team with three punt returns for an 18-yard average.
In another first, sophomore fullback Matt Garvin scored his first career TD against Drake, a 15-yard pass from Nelson with 12:24 left in the game.
BEST START: UNI, now 2-0, is off to its best start since the 1999 season when it began 4-0. Since then, the Panthers have lost five straight games to 1-A teams (Boise State 2000, Iowa State 2001, Oklahoma State 2002, Iowa State 2003 and 2004) to mar their early-season starts.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS: Junior offensive tackle Joe Lobdell had a breakout game against Drake in his first action on the offensive side of the ball after switching from defensive tackle during the spring. He participated in 33 plays, grading out 95 percent with three-plus plays.
2005 PRESEASON HONORS:
Gateway Football Conference CB Dre Dokes RB Terrance Freeney LB Brett Koebcke WR Justin Surrency Honorable Mention OL Tyler Rawlins OL John Schabilion DL Kevin Stensrud
1-AA.Org Preseason All-American 2nd Team CB Dre Dokes 3rd Team Special Teams K Brian Wingert Preseason 1-AA.Org Gateway Conference 1st Team DB Dre Dokes WR Justin Surrency 2nd Team TE Brian Cutright RB Terrance Freeney OG Tyler Rawlins QB Eric Sanders DL Kevin Stensrud 1-AA.Org Gateway High Fives CB Dre Dokes RB Terrance Freeney QB Eric Sanders OC John Schabilion DT Kevin Stensrud WR/RS Justin Surrency K Brian Wingert 1-AA.Org Gateway Pro Talent WR Justin Surrency
Sports Network Honorable Mention CB Dre Dokes RB Terrance Freeney
FREENEY ADDED TO PAYTON WATCH LIST: UNI tailback Terrance Freeney has been named to the 2005 Walter Payton Award watch list, the third year in a row he has been a candidate for the honor given to the top offensive player in 1-AA. He also was a preseason candidate in 2004 but later was dropped from the list after early-season injuries slowed his progress.
Freeney was added to the revised "watch list" about midway through the 2003 season after not being selected to the roster preseason. Just a sophomore, he finished 14th out of 17 candidates with 26 points in the final voting, including one first-place vote.
The Walter Payton Award is now in its 20th year of existence.
MORE PRESEASON ACCOLADES: David Horne, a senior tailback transfer to UNI from Nebraska, has been named the fifth-best 1-A transfer in 1-AA by Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network. Junior Scottsdale Community College transfer, quarterback Dexter Hill, was named the fourth-best JUCO transfer by Dougherty. Freshman offensive lineman Codie Fetters was named the sixth-best high school senior.
Overall, UNI's recruiting class was picked no. 1 in 1-AA by Dougherty. "...the Panthers bring in a Big 12 transfer (Horne) to share carries with Terrance Freeney, a top JUCO QB (Dexter Hill) and freshman Patrick Grace to compete with Eric Sanders, and a pair of solid freshman linemen (Fetters and DL Chuck Kinney)."
SEASON OPENERS: UNI now is 54-46-7 in season openers dating back to 1895 after defeating Drake 52-17 last Thursday. The Panthers had a two-game losing streak in openers heading into this year after dropping contests at 1-A Iowa State the past two seasons. Prior to that, UNI had won five straight season openers against 1-A Eastern Michigan, McNeese State, Division II Morningside College, and two to Wayne State (MI).
2005 CO-CAPTAINS: Seniors, tight end Brian Cutright, receiver Justin Surrency, linebacker Darin Heideman and defensive tackle Kevin Stensrud have been named team co-captains for the 2005 season.
UNI FANS NO. 10 (but no. 1 in our hearts): 1-AA.org has selected UNI fans no. 10 in the nation in 1-AA. "...their drive to continue to tailgate fiercely, to root rabidly for their Panthers to win Gateway titles, and to believe with all their heart that their Panthers will finally win that elusive 1-AA championship."
ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Several Panthers rank amongst active NCAA 1-AA career leaders. Here's the list: *Rushing Carries-Terrance Freeney (4th, 568) *Rushing Yards-Freeney 108th, 2430) *Rushing TDs-Freeney (T9th, 26) *Carries Per Game-Freeney (3rd, 22.7) *Rushing Yds Per Game-Freeney (T5th, 97.2) *Yards Per Carry-Freeney (7th, 4.28) *Interceptions-Dre Dokes (T18th, 8) *Interception Yds-Dokes (T8th, 178) *Interceptions Per Game-Dokes (T7th, 0.3) *FG Attempts-Brian Wingert (14th, 34) *FGs Made-Wingert (T7th, 28) *FG Attempts Per Game-Wingert (6th, 1.5) *FGs Made Per Game-Wingert (2nd, 1.3) *FGs Percentage Made-Wingert (1st, 82.35) *TDs Scored-Freeney (T12th, 27) *Scoring-FGs Attempted-Wingert (14th, 34) *Scoring-FGs Made-Wingert (T7th, 28) *Scoring-PATs Attempted-Wingert (19th, 79) *Scoring, PATs Made-Wingert (T16th, 76) *Punt Returns-Justin Surrency (9th, 53) *Punt Return Yds-Surrency (18th, 316) *Punt Return TDs-Surrency (T5th, 1) *Punt Returns Per Game-Surrency (20th, 1.4) *Scoring Pts. Per Game-Wingert (11th, 7.0); Freeney (16th, 6.0) *All-Purpose Plays-Freeney (5th, 580) *All-Purpose TDs-Freeney (T12th, 25) *All-Purpose Plays Per Game-Freeney (4th, 23.7) *All-Purpose Yds Per Game-Freeney (15th, 100.9) *All-Purpose Yds Per Play-Freeney (20th, 4.33)
1,000-YARD MAN: Senior running back Terrance Freeney became the 16th runner in school history last year to gain at least 1,000 yards rushing when he compiled 101 yards in UNI's final game at Northern Arizona. He finished the season with 1,100 yards and seven TDs on 244 carries, ranking 10th on UNI's all-time leaders chart for yards in a season. His 1,261 yards gained in 2003 ranks second. He had a season-high 236 yards rushing last year against Western Illinois, which ranks seventh on the single-game chart.
RECORD BUSTER: Redshirt freshman quarterback Eric Sanders set a school freshman record last year for passing yards in a season after completing 16-of-27 passes with no interceptions for 198 yards and three TDs in the last game at Northern Arizona. He finished the year with a 6-1 record as the starter after taking over for four-year starter Tom Petrie in the fourth game of the year due to injury. Sanders ended up completing 95-of-150 passes with just five interceptions for 1,307 yards and 15 TDs, an efficiency rating of 162.86, ranking third in 1-AA.
DOKES MAKES PRESENCE KNOWN: Corner Dre Dokes returned to action last season against Illinois State in fine form, tying a school record with three interceptions. He had missed the previous two games because of a sprained ankle. He ended the year with a team-high four interceptions, matching the total number he recorded in 2003.
NUMBERS TELL THE STORY: After starting the 2004 season 1-4, the Panthers became a team on a mission. UNI handed Illinois State its most lopsided loss of the season in defeating the Redbirds 41-14. In their six straight wins to conclude the campaign, the Panthers outscored their opponents 228-74, including 138-32 in the first half, and 104-16 in the first quarter.
GAINING THE TURNOVERS: Another reason for UNI's success in 2004 was the ability to gain the turnovers. Though UNI was not turning the ball over earlier in the season, it also was not getting the turnovers. However, in the last six games, the Panthers turned the ball over just six times, and gained 18 turnovers, including seven in the final game at Northern Arizona. UNI finished the year ranked eighth in 1-AA in turnover margin and tied for first in turnovers lost with just 12.
So far this season, UNI has turned over the ball twice on fumbles and has recovered one opponent fumble.
MAKING THE CASE: The last time a team made the 1-AA playoffs with four losses was in 1995 when Idaho advanced as an at-large team with a 6-4 mark. Just 13 teams total have made the post-season field with four losses since the system was expanded to 16 teams in 1986. Only five of those teams made it as at-large teams. UNI advanced as the Gateway's automatic bid with a 7-4 mark in 1995.
CLOSE ENOUGH? In UNI's four losses last season, the Panthers lost by just 37 points total, including 23 to 1-A Iowa State. Discounting that one game, UNI lost three games by just 14 points -- 24-21 to 12th-ranked Stephen F. Austin, 40-36 to no. 1 Southern Illinois, and 17-10 to no. 6 Western Kentucky. Thus, UNI was 1-3 in games decided by seven or fewer points after defeating Youngstown State 22-20.
UNI was 2-1 in 2003, 3-1 in 2002, 5-0 in 2001 and 2-2 in 2000 in games decided by seven or fewer points.
PILE IT ON: UNI's 58-6 defeat of Indiana State last year is the Panthers' largest margin of victory over a Gateway Conference foe, overtaking the 52-7 defeat of Western Illinois in the 1987 season. It also is the largest victory margin ever over a 1-AA opponent.
FREENEY BACK TO FORM: After being slowed early in the year with a thigh contusion and bronchitis, tailback Terrance Freeney returned to form in the last six games a year ago. He rushed for at least 100 yards in four games,and gained 89 at Indiana State and a game-high 84 versus Illinois State. He also scored seven TDs in the last six games.
The Panthers out-gained their opponents 2,057-to-1,152 over that time span.
UNDER FIRE: Redshirt freshman Eric Sanders became just the second freshman dating back to at least 1949 to start for the Panthers at quarterback when he replaced senior Tom Petrie against Western Kentucky last season. Petrie was the first freshman to start when he came on board.
SO CLOSE: The Panthers had to be the best 7-4 team in the country last year. After opening the season with a 23-0 defeat at 1-A Iowa State and a 43-0 win over Division II Minnesota State, the Panthers played three straight ranked teams, including two ranked in the top 6 at the time of the contests.
In those three games, UNI had the opportunity to win or tie the games with less than a minute remaining. Against then 13th-ranked Stephen F. Austin, UNI drove to the SFA 45 before stalling out with 36 seconds left on four straight incomplete passes. Against no. 1 Southern Illinois, backup quarterback Eric Sanders drove UNI to SIU's 20 before his pass was intercepted at the two yard line. Against no. 6 Western Kentucky, Sanders' pass was intercepted in the end zone with less than eight seconds remaining. UNI lost those three games by a total of 14 points.
REACHING THE CENTURY MARK: UNI had two players gain over 100 yards versus Minnesota State last year -- Jim Lizzi with a career-high 145 yards and Walter Payton Award candidate Terrance Freeney with 103. UNI repeated the effort against Western Illinois when Freeney rushed for 236 yards, 13 shy of his career high, and Richard Carter gained 123 rushing.
Since 1950, the Panthers have had 24 games total in which they have had at least two players rush for 100 yards in the same game. They've had one game when three players rushed for at least 100 yards -- when Leland Crew (142), Richard Eisenlauer (105) and John Bech (103) reached the century mark against North Dakota on Sept. 22, 1951.
UNI ON HOMECOMING: UNI now is 53-23-7 in its own Homecoming and had a one-game win streak on that special day before losing 17-10 to Western Kentucky last fall. WKU also beat UNI 31-12 on UNI's Homecoming in 2002. Before that, the Panthers had won seven consecutive games on Homecoming.
PLAYING THE BIG BOYS: The Panthers have had some success against teams designated 1-A. Most of the success has come in the last 18 years. UNI now is 8-13 against 1-A teams since 1985 after losing at Iowa State last year in the first game, 23-0.
UNI has lost five straight games to Division 1-A teams. Its last win over a 1-A team was 36-21 at Ohio University in 1999.
CONFERENCE DOMINANCE: Since the Gateway Football Conference was founded in 1985, UNI has won or shared 11 league titles. The Panthers won the title outright in 1985 (5-0), 1987 (6-0), 1991 (5-1), 1992 (5-1), 1993 (5-1), 1994 (6-0), 1996 (5-0), and in 2001 (6-1). Titles were shared in 1990 with Missouri State (5-1), in 1995 with Eastern Illinois (5-1) and in 2003 with Southern Illinois (6-1). In those seasons when UNI shared the title, the Panthers received the league's automatic bid to the playoffs in 1990 by virtue of their 20-17 win over MSU, in 1995 with their victory over EIU 17-7, and in 2003 because of their 43-40 win over SIU.
YOUNG BLOOD: The 2005 two-deep chart shows six redshirt freshmen, including offensive tackle Bob Swift, quarterback Nick Nelson, defensive end Mark Huygens, inside linebacker Justin Kirk and corner Sean McMoore. The two-deep showed seven redshirt freshmen listed at the end of the 2004 campaign.
STREAKING: A Gateway team has started conference play 5-0 on 14 occasions (including UNI and Southern Illinois in 2003) and all of the 11 previous teams finished second or better in the league standings. Ten of those 11 earned playoff berths, and 10 won the conference crown. Only twice in league history (1987, 2003) have two teams started 5-0 or better the same year.
UNI VERSUS THE TOP 25: The Panthers now own a 45-30 record over teams ranked in the 1-AA Top 25 (either the NCAA or Sports Network polls) since 1985 after losing 24-21 to 13th-ranked Stephen F. Austin, to no. one Southern Illinois and to sixth-ranked Western Kentucky last year.
UNI defeated 11th-ranked Northwestern State, no. 7 Western Illinois, lost 24-3 to 12th-ranked Western Kentucky, defeated no. 2 Southern Illinois 43-40 and no. 24 Montana State 35-14, and lost to no. 3 Delaware 37-7 in 2003.
UNI dropped out of The Sports Network's Top 25 for the first time Oct. 28, 2002, receiving enough votes to be ranked 32nd, and it never recovered to jump back into the top 25s. This was just the fifth time since 1984 that the Panthers ended the season un-ranked. The other years were 1986, 1988, 1997 and 1998.
UNI VERSUS NO. 1: Since moving up to the 1-AA level in 1985, UNI now is 1-4 versus teams ranked no. 1 in a specific poll at the time of the contest after losing 40-36 to Southern Illinois last Oct. 2. UNI lost to no. 1 Marshall in the 1996 playoffs 31-14, defeated no. 1 Youngstown State 35-32 in 1997, lost to no. 1 McNeese State 20-17 in 1998, and lost to no. 1 Montana 38-0 in the 2001 playoffs.
UNI ON TV: With its 36-13 win over Western Illinois and the 58-6 win at Indiana State last year, UNI now has won six consecutive games on the Gateway Football Conference television package. It now is 6-2 overall when shown on the conference package.
UNI IN THE DOME: UNI is 145-38-1 (.791) in the UNI-Dome since the building opened in 1976. The Panthers were 6-0 at home in 2003 and had an eight-game home win streak dating back to the 2002 season before losing to 13th-ranked Stephen F. Austin at home last year on Sept. 18. UNI was 5-1 at home in 2000, losing 44-41 to Western Illinois in the last game of the season, snapping a seven-game home winning streak.
The Panthers were 6-0 at home in 2001and were 3-3 in 2002. They have the best home field winning percentage in the Gateway Conference with a 49-11 record. They have gone undefeated at home in a season seven times since 1990.
UNI had a 25-game overall home winning streak heading into the 1992 1-AA semifinal game against Youngstown State, which the Penguins snapped with their 19-7 win. Prior to a Sept. 24, 1994, loss to McNeese State, UNI had won 29 straight regular-season games in the Dome dating back to the 1989 season opener, lost 22-14 to Mankato State.
GFC RANKED VERSUS RANKED: There have been 51 times in which two Gateway teams ranked in the top 25 played one another. The home team is 29-22, while the higher-ranked team is 28-23. Fourteen times the meeting involved teams that were both ranked in the top 10.
UNI has played in seven of those games when the two teams have been ranked in the top 10, and has a 4-3 record in such contests after defeating seventh-ranked Western Illinois and losing to ninth-ranked Western Kentucky in 2003. The third-ranked Panthers defeated fifth-ranked Southwest Missouri State in the Dome in 1996, 38-31; no. 3 UNI defeated no. 8 Western Illinois 30-6 at home in 1996, no. 10 Illinois State defeated third-ranked UNI 47-28 in Normal in 1999, and no. 9 Youngstown State defeated no. 6 UNI 29-20 in Cedar Falls in 1999.
UNI played six ranked teams in 2001, defeating then second-ranked Youngstown State 30-11 in the Dome, then 12th-ranked Western Illinois 17-14 on the road, sixth-ranked Western Kentucky 24-23 on the road, third-ranked Eastern Illinois 49-43 on the road, 16th-ranked Maine 56-28 at home, and lost 38-0 to no. 1 Montana in the 1-AA semifinals.
UNI defeated 17th-ranked YSU and lost to eighth-ranked Western Illinois for its only games against ranked foes in 2002. UNI played five ranked teams in 2003, defeating no. 11 Northwestern State, WIU, and Southern Illinois. It lost at 12th-ranked Western Kentucky.
SQUEAKERS: When UNI defeated Western Kentucky 24-23 in 2001, it marked just the second time in league history in which there were two one-point decisions on the same day.
In all, there have been 27 games decided by one point. UNI has more one-point wins in Gateway games than any other team, and the Panthers are 7-3 in those contests.
OT NO WAY: UNI is 2-4 in overtime games. The Panthers are 1-1 at home in OT. Two of those extra period games were during the 1-AA playoffs, and the Panthers lost both of those games -- 27-21 at Boston University in 1993, and 44-41 at Northeast Louisiana in 1987.
HALFTIME LEAD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF: UNI's double overtime loss to Western Illinois in 1997 and the 20-17 loss in overtime to McNeese State in 1998 were the only times in the decade of the '90s when the Panthers surrendered a halftime lead (UNI led WIU 9-0 and MSU 7-0). Prior to that, UNI had a 53-0 regular-season record when leading at the half.
UNI led third-ranked Youngstown State on the road, 17-14, at the half in 2000, but went on to fall 28-24 in the last 1:17 of the game. UNI was 8-0 in 2001 when leading at the half and was 4-2 in 2002, losing to Illinois State after leading 17-10 at the half and at Indiana State, 21-19, after leading 10-0 at the break.
UNI was 8-0 in 2003 when leading at the half and was 7-1 last year after defeating Minnesota State 40-0, Youngstown State 22-20, Western Illinois 30-6, Southwest Missouri State 42-20, Indiana State 58-6, Illinois State 41-14 and Northern Arizona 45-21, and losing to Southern Illinois after leading 26-14 at intermission.
TURF VS. GRASS: Over the past 12 years, UNI is 16-18 on grass. UNI was 0-4 on grass in 1997, 0-1 in 1998, 2-1 in 1999, 1-0 in 2000, 4-1 in 2001 and was 1-2 in 2003. It was 0-1 last year after losing at Iowa State. It is 27-16 on artificial surfaces on the road.
INJURY REPORT: Freshman linebacker Brian Jordan is sidelined with a right shoulder injury, freshman tight end Brandon Vonnahme is questionable with a right hip flexor, senior safety Tanner Varner is sidelined with a right hamstring injury, junior wide receiver Jake Holmes is out until at least Sept. 20 with a left ankle sprain, senior linebacker Geoff Stamp underwent surgery for a right knee ACL and lateral meniscus and will be sidelined at least six months, and freshman tight end Joel Gilson is sidelined at least until November with a right fibula injury.
GRADING THE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN in 2004 (winning percentage=min. 80% in 20 plays): vs. DU Lobdell (33 plays, 95%, 3-Plus), Anderson (34 plays, 95%), Bates (25 plays, 95%), Rinehart (49 plays, 92%), Schabilion (49 plays, 92%), Rawlins (40 plays, 83%) vs. UMD Rawlins (30 plays, 1-Plus, 93%), Hoffman (28 plays, 93%), Anderson (23 plays, 91%), Rinehart (35 plays, 87%), Swift (25 plays, 1-Plus, 84%), Falk (25 plays, 84%), Lobdell (26 plays, 2-Plus, 81 %), Schabilion (35 plays, 1-Plus, 77%), Bates (31 plays, 2-Plus, 77 %)
2005 Single-Game Superlatives Rush Attempts: 11, Corey Lewis, Terrance Freeney vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 16, Scott Phaydavong (Drake) Rush Yards: 57, David Horne vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 69, Scott Phaydavong (Drake) Rush TDs: 2, Terrance Freeney vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 1, Michael Bialas (Drake) Pass Attempts: 17, Eric Sanders vs. Drake Opp: 42, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Pass Completions: 14, Eric Sanders vs. Drake Opp: 28, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Consecutive Completions: 11, Eric Sanders vs. Drake Opp: 7, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Pass Interceptions: 0 Opp: 0 Pass TDs: 3, Eric Sanders vs. Drake, vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 2, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Receptions: 3, David Horne, Justin Surrency, Jamie Goodwin vs. Drake; Surrency vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 7, Vinny Flury (Minnesota Duluth) Reception Yards: 68, David Horne vs. Drake Opp: 57, Tony Doherty (Minnesota Duluth) Reception TDs: 1, Several Opp: 1, Daniel Marx (Drake); Tony Doherty, Mark Slinden (Minnesota Duluth) Punts: 2, Adam Kos vs. Drake, vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 7, Ryan Horvath (Drake); Luke Radke (Minnesota Duluth) Punt Avg.: 37.0, Adam Kos vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 38.3, Ryan Horvath (Drake) Punt Returns: 3, Johnny Gray vs. Drake Opp: 1, Jordan Bontrager (Drake) Punt Return Yds: 54, Johnny Gray vs. Drake Opp: 0 PATs Kicked: 7, Brian Wingert vs. Drake; vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 2, Ryan Horvath (Drake); Britt Baumann (Minnesota Duluth) PATs Attempted: 7, Brian Wingert vs. Drake, vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 2, Ryan Horvath (Drake); Britt Baumann (Minnesota Duluth) Field Goals Kicked: 1, Brian Wingert vs. Drake Opp: 1, Ryan Horvath (Drake) Field Goals Attempted: 1, Brian Wingert vs. Drake) Opp: 1, Ryan Horvath (Drake) Kickoff Returns: 2, Dre Dokes vs. Drake Opp: 4, Marcus Davis (Minnesota Duluth) Kickoff Return Yds: 39, Dre Dokes vs. Drake Opp: 112, Marcus Davis (Minnesota Duluth) Total Offense Attempts: 21, Eric Sanders vs. Drake Opp: 51, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Total Offense Yds: 322, Eric Sanders vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 236, Ted Schlafke (Minnesota Duluth) Touchdowns: 2, Terrance Freeney vs. Minnesota Duluth Opp: 1, Daniel Marx, Michael Bialas (Drake); Tony Doherty, Mark Slinden (Minnesota Duluth) All-Purpose Yds: 112, David Horne vs. Drake Opp: 112, Marcus Davis (Minnesota Duluth) Points: 10, Brian Wingert vs. Drake Opp: 6, Daniel Marx, Michael Bialas (Drake); Tony Doherty, Mark Slinden (Minnesota Duluth)
QUOTING FARLEY: At today's weekly Press Luncheon, UNI head coach Mark Farley had the following comments.
"I felt that our offense played very well again (vs. Minnesota Duluth) and I felt like our defense played well. We drove the football field and then had a turnover inside the five yard line, one thing that set us back that we can't let happen to us in close football games...Defensively, we want to perform better at the start of games. After that, things settled down. Our offense took over again, and once again Eric Sanders had an exceptional football game. He threw for over 300 yards. Completion-wise he's over the top right now because he's hitting the open receivers. The receivers are making catches for him. He's distributed to about nine different guys right now. I think you saw Terrance Freeney come into the fold. He didn't get a chance that first week. I think our defensive line performed a little better in the second half than they did in the first half.
"We're comfortable with the way things went the other day. I think we got what we wanted to out of the first two games. We wanted to make sure we got some of our players experience and we did in the third and fourth quarters, because those players will be called upon sooner or later to start for us. At the same time we made mistakes offensively and defensively, yet we still could get the win and get those things corrected for the rest of the season.
(Reaction to Iowa vs. Iowa State) "There really wasn't a reaction. I think Iowa State has a great football team, and I knew Iowa had a great football team. That home field advantage I think was a factor in it. I watched it as a bystander, not as a fan...Iowa State was playing very emotional and causing the turnovers, and of course the injury to Drew Tate was a difference early, but I think Iowa State did an exceptional job of defending them and also running the offense. Iowa State was very well prepared. That day they were a better football team.
(Care about which Iowa QB) "No, we have to deal with the whole Hawkeye nation. It won't matter for us who lines up. But I'll say this about Drew Tate, I knew he was a good player just by reading and watching last season, but now after watching tape and getting prepared for him, he is a difference maker. He can carry any football team. He's truly a great football player.
"For us, we'll know a lot more about our football team at the end of the day. I don't think anything will be written in stone after the game that hasn't already taken place the last two games. I think this becomes a little bit more of an emotional game for the players than the last two games. There's a lot of things that play into this football game, but we need to do down there and perform well.
(Worried about keeping emotions in check) "No, not really, because this is an emotional game. I want them to play with emotion. If we can play with emotion, that's the way the game should be played. We just have to be sure as coaches we create the game plan that allows them to play with emotion, because sometimes you can scheme them out of situations when you try to do so much to take away an opponent that is favored so much. Let the players play. Just line up and execute what they know.
"I look at it more as the University of Northern Iowa program. It's not about the athletes. We're the University of Northern Iowa, and we're proud of it. We're representing a lot of former players, we're representing alumni, we're just on a bigger stage right now. This is the only difference right now, this is a stage we're not normally on and get the exposure to. We just need to make sure we represent all those people from the past that have put this program at this level, and that they're proud at the end of the day. The atmosphere will be totally different, there's no question. Everything's larger about it. Let the emotions go, don't try to hide anything. This is a great opportunity for our players. How we handle that, we'll find out.
"(The game) is great for our athletic department, that's the bottom line, but it's also great for our alumni, it's great for our institution, it's great for our town, and it's great for the state, I think.
"We've got a huge mountain to climb. This is a task that is very hard to accomplish. It didn't become any easier with the outcome (Iowa's loss) on Saturday. Then you add the factor of going to Kinnick Stadium, that triples. I expect a very focused, a very grounded football team that will be very well prepared. I don't expect them to take anything lightly.
"We need to execute. An error down there, you're talking about emotional swings and 70,000 people, that's a huge emotion...We're going to have to be aggressive and we're going to have to stay close and play sound football. Right now, I just want to make it to the first quarter and then take it from there.
"We're a pretty balanced offense right now. It may show up that we're throwing the ball a lot right now, but that's just the last two opponents. I think you also know that we have two running backs that can run the football. Our intent is to remain the same as we've always been. We're not changing for this football game. We need to continue to get better and we have a long season ahead of us. We'll put our cards on the table when we go to Kinnick."
2005 GAME-BY-GAME RECAP:
Drake 7 3 0 7 17 UNI 14 28 3 7 52 Attend. 10,385
UNI's 52-point explosion against Drake was headlined by sophomore field general Eric Sanders. He threw for a career-high 289 yards and three TDs while completing 14-of-17 passes in the 52-17 win. A shaky start from the Panther defense left UNI in a 7-0 hole early in the first quarter but it came back to orchestrate a 10-play, 74-yard march to pay dirt, capped off by a one-yard TD dive by Nebraska transfer, senior tailback David Horne. Horne accounted for 34 yards of the drive, including a 23-yard scamper to the Drake two yard line. UNI took a lead it would not relinquish with a 34-yard pass from Sanders to senior Justin Surrency. Briant Wingert's first of seven PATs made it 14-7 in favor of UNI after the first quarter.
Drake chipped at the Panther lead with a 26-yard field goal to amke it 14-10 with less thatn two minutes gone in the second period. Sanders and Patrick Hunter crushed the Bulldog momentum with a 45-yard hookup that led to a 20-yard James Lindgren TD and a 21-10 Panther lead.
UNI gained 528 yards total, including 359 in the first half, and 316 through the air, the most yards gained since compiling 549 yards in the second game last season against Division II Minnesota State. Drake gained 252 yards, including just 99 on the ground.
Horne led UNI in receiving with three catches for 68 yards while adding 44 ground yards on nine carries. Redshirt freshman Corey Lewis led the Panthers in rushing with 10 carries for 51 yards, while senior Walter Payton Award nominee Terrance Freeney, nursing a sore knee, rushed nine times for 36 yards. Surrency caught three passes for 64 yards and senior Akron transfer Jamie Goodwin gained 53 yards on three catches, including a 36-yard TD catch. Wingert added a 21-yard field goal to his seven PATs. Senior outside linebacker John Hermann led the Panthers' defensive attack with 7.5 tackles, including four solos, along with 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.