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UNI football visits No. 20 Southern Illinois in MVFC road test

CEDAR FALLS – UNI football will have its first ranked Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup of the season when it faces Southern Illinois on the road this weekend.

A dominant UNI football win over Missouri State has set up a top-20 matchup for the Panthers against Southern Illinois Salukis this weekend.

Placekicker Matthew Cook will have a crack at the UNI and MVFC records for made field goals. Cook is currently tied for second for field goals made with 63. Billy Hallgren holds the top mark at UNI in the conference with 64 made field goals.

Head coach Mark Farley enters the game 15th in the nation for career winning percentage among active FCS coaches with at least 50 games. At 172-97, he has a 63.9% winning percentage. He is 56-52 against top-25 opponents. UNI has 91 wins over top-25 opponents all-time.

UNI leads the series against SIU, 20-17. Farley is 10-9 against Southern Illinois, with eight of those wins at home. SIU leads the series in Carbondale, 13-5. UNI won the last meeting in 2021, 23-16.

  • Fourth down conversion percentage (68.2% SIU / 62.5% UNI)

  • First downs offense (190 UNI / 189 SIU)

  • Passing TDs (14 Theo Day / 13 Nic Baker)

  • Passing yards (2,141 Theo Day / 1,772 Nic Baker)

  • Points responsible for (96 Theo Day / 90 Nic Baker)

UNI PANTHERS

The Panthers are coming off their second consecutive week of 500+ yards in offense. Prior to the last two games, UNI hadn’t recorded a 500+ yard game since 2016. UNI had 548 yards against Utah Tech and 522 yards against Missouri State.

UNI continues to lead a balanced offensive attack on the ground and through the air with quarterback Theo Day finding several targets and placekicker Matthew Cook chipping in a team-high 60 points. The Panthers have 14 rushing and 14 receiving touchdowns so far this season. Woo Governor brings the UNI total to 30 TDs with two interception returns.

Dom Williams, the reigning Co-MVFC Offensive Player of the Week, leads the team with nine rushing touchdowns. Williams matched a UNI record of four rushing TDs in a single game against Missouri State in UNI’s last outing.

Day has connected with Morancy for four receiving touchdowns. Seven Panthers have notched two touchdowns (Quan Hampton, Sam Schnee, Alex Allen, Logan Wolf, Governor, Desmond Hutson, Day). Brothers Deion McShane and Vance McShane join newcomer Harrison Bey-Buie with one touchdown.

Wide receiver Sam Schnee is third in receiving yards with 534 yards on the year. Williams leads the MVFC in rushing touchdowns with nine and is third in the league for rushing yards per carry with 6.11 yards.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS SALUKIS

The Salukis are second in the conference with four league wins. After dropping its first two games of the season, SIU bounced back with a 31-24 victory over the Big Ten’s Northwestern Wildcats. SIU’s four MVFC wins have come against North Dakota (34-17), Illinois State (19-14), Missouri State (38-21) and Western Illinois (30-7).

South Dakota snapped SIU’s five-game winning streak, beating the Salukis, 27-24 at USD last week. SIU leads the conference in four stats:

  • Fourth down conversion percentage (68.2%) – No. 8 FCS

  • Team sacks (3.62 a game) – No. 5 in FCS

  • Tackles for loss (6.9 per game) – No. 18 FCS

  • Time of possession (34:43) – No. 7 FCS

The Salukis are second in the MVFC in rushing defense (allowing 96.2 yards per game – No. 3 FCS) and completion percentage (69% – No. 8 FCS). On the flipside, SIU battles penalty issues, sitting at the top of the list in the MVFC with 55 on the year. The Salukis have racked up 452 yards in penalties.

Quarterback Nic Baker is second in the league for completion percentage. He is 248-172-3  for 69.4%. He averages 21.5 completions per game, 10.3 yards per completion and 221.5 passing yards per game.

SIU has two players in the MVFC top five for receiving touchdowns. Avante Cox has five this year, the second most in the MVFC while Jacob Garrett has four. UNI’s Sergio Morancy ties Garrett with four so far this season.

The Salukis balance out their receiving game with Javon Williams Jr. on the ground. Williams has eight of the Salukis’ rushing touchdowns, which ties for the second most in the league. Williams is also second in the conference for kick returns with 320 yards and ranks No. 3 in the MVFC for all purpose yards with 102.75.

Defensively, SIU’s Richie Hagarty is second in the conference for sacks per game. Hagarty is also in the top five for tackles for loss.

  • UNI football (4-4 / 3-2 MVFC) at #20 Southern Illinois (5-3 / 4-1 MVFC)

    • 2 p.m. CT  |  Oct. 29, 2022

    • Carbondale, Ill. |  Saluki Stadium (15,000)

    • ESPN3 (Play-by-Play: Brad Wells; Analyst: Danan Hughes; Reporter: Jayice Pearson)

    • Listen: Panther Sports Network (J.W. Cox: Play-by-Play / Scott Peterson: Analyst)

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