CEDAR FALLS – Sixth-ranked UNI Football makes its 21st Playoff Appearance and the fifth in six seasons and begins the playoff run by hosting San Diego, the Pioneer League Champions, Saturday at the UNI-Dome.
UNI is 8-4 on the year and finished the season in sole possession of second place in the MVFC. San Diego lost a pair of non-conference games to open the year but finished the season on a 9-0 win streak, including an 8-0 mark in Pioneer League play. It is the first meeting of the two teams, but the Tereros are not unfamiliar with Iowa, fellow Pioneer League team Drake is in their league and starting quarterback Reid Sinnett is from Johnston, Iowa.
• The Panthers rolled Western Illinois behind 98 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Trevor Allen and a pick-six from Chris Kolarevic. The Panther defense held WIU to just 240 yards and just 83 in the second half.
• The win over Southern Utah was Head coach Mark Farley‘s 150th career victory. He is the winningest coach in UNI and Missouri Valley Football History and the 10th coach in FCS history with 150 FCS victories.
• UNI is 11th in the FCS in total defense, 14th in scoring defense, 32nd in tackles for loss and 17th in sacks. After four games with three or more turnovers, the Panthers are now 10th in the FCS and second in the MVFC in turnovers gained.
• Isaiah Weston and Chris Kolarevic are building resumes for comeback player of the year honors. Weston missed all of last season and through 10 games sits atop the MVFC in receiving TDs and yards per catch. Kolarevic has played in just eight games, but is third on the team in total tackles and earned a pair of MVFC Player of the Week honors.
• The Panthers have earned a Missouri Valley Player of the Week honor after eight of 10 games this season. Matthew Cook was named the Special Teams Player of the Week after the Iowa State game and again after Missouri State, McElvain earned Newcomer of the Week honors after the Southern Utah game and Elerson G. Smith was named the Defensive Player of the Week after the Idaho State win and again after the Youngstown State victory. Against Weber State, McElvain earned his second NOFW honor and Chris Kolarevic picked up DPOTW honors and again after the South Dakota game. Isaiah Weston was named the Offensive Player of the Week after the South Dakota game. Omar Brown earned DPOTW and NOTW honors after the Illinois State game.