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UNI football to hosts Illinois State for homecoming

CEDAR FALLS - UNI is looking to add a third win to its streak when the Panthers host Illinois State for homecoming this weekend.

CEDAR FALLS – UNI is looking to add a third win to its streak when the Panthers host Illinois State for homecoming this weekend.

The last time UNI had three consecutive wins was at last year’s homecoming after the Panthers beat Sacramento State, St. Thomas and capped it with Youngstown State.

The Hy-Vee Fan Zone will return and be  located in the northwest corner of the west UNI-Dome parking lot. The hassle-free tailgate experience features live music, free food samples and televised college football games. Fans can arrive at the Fan Zone at 1:30 p.m. and stay until 3:30 pm.

THE SERIES

UNI leads the series, 23-14 and is 14-3 at home. ISU won the last meeting, 17-10, when UNI traveled to Normal, Illinois. The last time UNI won was in the 2021 season moved to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Panthers won 20-10. Head coach Mark Farley is 11-9 against ISU, and the Redbirds’ head coach Brock Spack is 6-6 against the Panthers.

UNI PANTHERS

Quarterback Theo Day is the MVFC leader in pass efficiency. He is 97-148-4 and has amassed 1,330 yards, the second most offense in the league this year. His average of 266 yards per game is also No. 2 in the league.

Wide receivers Deion McShane and Sam Schnee are just two of eight MVFC players who have recorded 100-yard performances. McShane has had two 100+ yard games with only one player in the conference having three. McShane is No. 4 in the MVFC for receiving yards per game with an average of 70 yards. Schnee averages 58 yards to rank sixth in the MVFC. McShane’s 72-yard reception at North Dakota is still the longest in the league so far this season.

Running back Dom Williams is UNI’s rushing leader at No. 7 in the MVFC with 314 yards on 54 carries. He averages 62.8 yards a game and 5.81 a carry. His two rushing touchdowns on the year ties for the second most in the MVFC.

Matthew Cook continues to move up the all-time list in several kicking categories. He is in sole possession of fourth among all Panthers for field goals made with 59. Brian Wingert is third with 60 and Brian Mitchell is second with 63. Cook remains perfect for a league high on PATs with 17. His 96 career PATs is the eighth most made and attempted among all Panthers.

UNI is on a sack attack having notched two sacks in three consecutive games. The Panthers have had at least one sack in the last four games. UNI racked up four sacks against Western Illinois. Devin Rice leads the charge with three sacks. He had two against WIU and notched his third last week against Indiana State.

Linebacker Spencer Cuvelier Is No. 8 in the MVFC for total tackles, averaging eight per game and has racked up 40 so far. Korby Sander is close behind tied at No. 11 in the league with 7.6 tackles per game (38 total).

ILLINOIS STATE REDBIRDS

Illinois State’s seven sacks on the Southern Illinois quarterback last week ties the most of any team in the league in a single game. The Redbirds are No. 8 in the nation and the league leader for team sacks, averaging 3.75 per game.

Linebacker Zeke Vandenburgh leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss. He has notched six of the team’s sacks this season, including a game-high of three against Valpo. His 44 tackles are leading the conference and ranks him fifth in the nation. He has 10 solo tackles for a loss, including a league high of 3.5 against last week’s opponent, SIU. He also has forced a fumble and recovered one fumble.

The Redbirds are second in the MVFC in interceptions with three in back-to-back games against Eastern Illinois and Valparaiso. The Redbirds tie the league lead for defensive touchdowns with two. UNI and North Dakota also have two.

ISU’s rushing leader has played just three games. Wenkers Wright has a total of 126 yards, averaging 42 yards a game. He averages 4.06 yards a carry in his 31 attempts with a long of 14 yards.

Quarterback Zack Annexstad is 75-126-5 and sits at No. 7 in the MVFC with 837 passing yards. He’s thrown six touchdown passes so far this season. He’s coming off a season-high game of 243 yards, where he threw two touchdowns and rushed for 32 yards against Southern Illinois. He has now thrown two touchdowns in each of the last three games for ISU.

His favorite target has been Daniel Sobkowicz, who had his second touchdown reception of the season against SIU.

On special teams, ISU leads the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 33.20 yards per game. Jalen Carr has amassed 163 yards on four returns and has a long of 98 yards. ISU is No. 9 in the nation and leads the MVFC for blocked kicks. The Redbirds have two on record this season.

UNI football (2-3 / 2-1 MVFC) vs. Illinois State (2-2 / 0-1 MVFC)

  • 4 p.m. CT  |  Oct. 8, 2022
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa | UNI-Dome (16,090)
  • Watch: ESPN+ (Brad Wells: Play-by-Play / Justin Surrency: Analyst)
  • Listen: Panther Sports Network (J.W. Cox: Play-by-Play / Scott Peterson: Analyst)

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