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UNI football opens home season with Sacramento State on Hall of Fame weekend

CEDAR FALLS – UNI football opens its home season on Hall of Fame weekend with its first top-10 opponent in Sacramento State. 

UNI will be inducting the Hall of Fame Class of 2022, which will include football standout and NFL great Chad Rinehart. He played a key role in UNI’s football success in the mid-2000s. The Boone, Iowa, native helped the Panthers to 37 wins, including three Gateway Football Conference championships, headlined by a run to the 2005 FCS National Championship Game and an undefeated 2007 regular season.

Rinehart was drafted in the third round with the 96th overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. After a brief stint on the New York Jets practice squad in 2010, Rinehart signed with the Buffalo Bills, where he would make 17 starts in 27 games played. Rinehart concluded his professional career after the 2014 season after two seasons with the San Diego Chargers with 26 starts under his belt.

Also being inducted:

  • Mark Schwab – wrestling
  • Kate Witte – volleyball
  • Bob Friedman – track and field
  • Sarah (O’Byrne) Smerage- softball
  • Dirk Homewood – track and field / Merlin Taylor Academic Hall of Fame Award
  • Dr. Bill Thrall – the Dr. Jito Kothari Meritorious Service Award 

PANTHER POWER

Wide receiver Deion McShane is coming off back-to-back games with more than 100 yards in receiving. He had a career best 157 yards against North Dakota. He is No. 3 in the nation and leads the Missouri Valley Football Conference in receiving yards per game with 131.5 yards. 

Sam Schnee had 109 receiving yards against North Dakota, making it the first time two Panthers tallied more than 100 yards in receiving for UNI since Sept. 7, 2019. The Panther duo make up half of the list of MVFC players with 100-yard performances this year. 

QB Theo Day leads the MVFC total offense with 629 yards. He is No. 8 in the nation for passing yards per game with 310 yards. He is the only quarterback in the league with a 300-yard passing performance this year. 

Day is second in the MVFC and No. 17 in the nation for passing yards per completion with 15.50 yards. Day’s 326 yards in total offense against North Dakota is a league high for single-game stats. His 72-yard throw to McShane is the longest MVFC reception of 2022. 

CAT FACTS

UNI has 91 wins over top-25 opponents all-time.
Matthew Cook’s next successful field goal makes him in sole possession of No. 4 on UNI’s all-time list for FGs made. He currently has made 56 of 71 field goals. His next field goal will give him sole possession of No. 5 for field goals attempted.
Deion McShane’s 72-yard pass at North Dakota was a career long and leads the MVFC in the longest reception of the year. 
With just 52 yards in penalties in the first two games of the season, UNI leads the MVFC in fewest yards in penalties and is No. 5 in the nation. The Panthers have been dinged with six penalties.
Sam Schnee’s eight receptions against North Dakota ties the most of any MVFC player in a single game. He racked up 109 yards and joined teammate Deion McShane in the short list of just four players who have notched 100-yard receiving games.

SCOUTING SAC

Sacramento State leads the nation and the Big Sky in rushing offense with 378 yards in its first game. Two Hornets rank in the nation’s top 10 for all purpose yards with Cameron Skattebo and Elijah Tau-Tolliver amassing 226 and 162 yards, respectively. The duo lead the conference as well. 

Quarterback Jake Dunniway is ranked 40th in the nation with 17 completions per game, which totaled 141 yards in Sac’s season opener. 

The Hornets are coming off a bye week after a dominant 56-33 win over Utah Tech. 

LAST MEETING 

The UNI-Sacramento State series started a year ago with a UNI win, 34-16. The Panther defense came up with big plays all game long, putting the UNI offense in great field position. The defensive unit forced five total Sacramento State turnovers with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. UNI also picked up a loose ball on a quarterback scramble.

Spencer Cuvelier led the Panthers with 15 total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss and two fumble 
recoveries. He was named the Stats Perform National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. Korby Sander and Benny Sapp III each finished with an interception. Caden Houghtelling recorded two of the Panthers’ three sacks.

Sacramento State was receiving votes the last time the teams met. The team went undefeated in league play to finish at the top of the Big Sky Conference and advance to the FCS Playoffs. The Hornets finished the season ranked No. 10 and 9-3 overall. 

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