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Panther football opens home stand hosting Indiana State

CEDAR FALLS – UNI football begins a four-game home stand when the Panthers host the Indiana State Sycamores in the annual Blackout Game at 4 p.m. Oct. 1.

UNI (1-3 / 1-1 MVFC) has lost just one time at home to Indiana State (1-2 / 0-0 MVFC) under the helm of coach Mark Farley since 2001. The Panthers are 16-1 when hosting ISU. UNI also leads the overall series, 29-5. UNI won the last meeting in 2019, 17-9. The Sycamores’ last win came when they edged out UNI 20-19 in 2014.

UNI PANTHERS

The Panthers are coming off a 52-17 win over Western Illinois. It was the most points scored by a UNI team since 2015 when the Panthers racked up 59 points against Indiana State.

Woo Governor was named Defensive Player of the Week for his two interception returns. It was the first scoring return since Austin Evans notched one against Western Illinois in 2021, and it matched a record last set in 2013 by Ray Mitchell who also scored two interception returns against Western Illinois. The two scores also now ranks UNI at the top of the league for defensive touchdowns, and No. 3 in the nation. Governor is No. 5 in the nation for interceptions per game. He also had one against North Dakota to make his third for the year.

UNI set a number of season highs as a team against Western Illinois:

Number of rushes – 45
Rushing yards – 197
Touchdown rushes – 2
Pass completions – 24
Touchdown passes – 3
Total plays – 75
Total offense – 468 yards
Points – 52
Sacks – 4
First downs – 28
UNI’s offense leads the conference in several stat categories, including completion percentage (67.2%), passing offense (290.2 yards per game) and total offense with 431.2 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Panthers have kept the penalties to a minimum with just four penalties per game to lead the conference.

Quarterback Theo Day is No. 6 in the nation with 1,150 yards so far on the season, which leads the conference. Wide receiver Deion McShane has racked up 321 receiving yards, which is the second most in the MVFC and No. 22 in the nation. Sam Schnee follows close behind to land at No. 5 in the MVFC with 255 yards. Running back Dom Williams is leading the rushing game for UNI with 62.5 yards per game, which is No. 7 in the MVFC. His four rushing TDs is the fourth best in the league.

Defensively, UNI is on a three-game streak of notching at least two sacks in a game. Devin Rice had two of UNI’s four against Western Illinois.

INDIANA STATE SYCAMORES

The Sycamores opened the season with an overtime win over North Alabama, which moved from Division II this season.

ISU has lost its last two games. Losing 56-0 to Purdue and 49-14 to No. 2 Montana. This weekend will be the Sycamores’ conference opener.

Redshirt sophomore Justin Dinka leads ISU’s rushing game, averaging 56 yards a game. He had a career-best 54-yard rushing touchdown in ISU’s last outing against Montana. He also posted career highs in both carries (20) and yards (87) in the loss.

Gavin Screws went 11-for-22 through the air for 115 yards against Montana. His favorite targets included Dante Hendrix (three catches, 36 yards), Harry Van Dyne (three catches, 27 yards), and Kevin Barnett (three catches, 20 yards). Hendrix extended his catch streak to 29 consecutive games with a grab dating back to the 2018 season.

Gianini Belizaire and Maddix Blackwell both recorded sacks in the game giving Indiana State 10 sacks at home in the 2022 season. Blackwell is third in the conference for forced fumbles.

Five different Sycamores finished with five tackles against Montana. Johnathan Edwards led the way with five solo stops and a pass breakup. Edwards is second in the conference and No. 31 in the nation for passes defended, averaging 1.3 per game.

Anthony Beacom connected on a season-best 65-yard punt against the Grizzlies, which marked Indiana State’s longest punt since October 21, 2017, when Thomas Bouldin connected on a 90-yard attempt against Southern Illinois.

IF YOU GO

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 1 and is designated as Band Day. Fans are encouraged to wear black.

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