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College Football: No. 3 Panthers host no. 15 Illinois State on Saturday

This news story was published on March 4, 2021.
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CEDAR FALLS – UNI is 1-1 after a 21-0 road win over Youngstown State. The Panthers return to the dome for a top-15 matchup against Illinois State Saturday at 4 p.m. in the UNI-Dome. The Redbirds are reeling after giving up a 27-3 run to close the game in a 27-20 home loss to South Dakota.

Dom Williams scored twice and the Panther defense held Youngstown State to just 135 yards, the lowest total since giving up just 109 to NCAA DII Central State (Ohio) in a 59-0 win in 2012, as UNI went on to win 21-0 Saturday on the road at the “Ice Castle.” The win is the first at Youngstown State since 2010. Chase Arends was named the MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week in the effort.

Six Panthers earned Preseason All-MVFC honors. Will McElvain, Isaiah Weston, Jared Brinkman, Omar Brown, Bryce Flater and Matthew Cook earned honors. Weston Brinkman and Brown earned Athlon Spring Preseason All-American honors and Weston and Brinkman earned HERO Sports Spring Preseason All-American Honors. Hero Sports also named Brinkman and Weston the best returning players in the MVFC at their position.

Mark Farley is the winningest coach in UNI and Missouri Valley Football History and the 10th coach in FCS history with 150 FCS victories. The win against Youngstown State was his 100th MVFC win.

UNI is climbing the statistical rankings. The Panthers are ninth in passing yards allowed, ninth in red zone defense, eighth in sacks allowed, seventh in scoring defense and seventh in total defense.

The Panthers and the rest of the Valley are scheduled to play eight regular-season games. UNI hosts four teams, three of the opponents that make their way to the UNI-Dome, SDSU, NDSU and Illinois State, were ranked in the top-10 in the FCS STATS Preseason Poll.

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