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UNI football faces off with top-ranked South Dakota State in home finale Inbox

CEDAR FALLS – UNI football’s Saturday matchup against No. 1 South Dakota State gives Panther kicker Matthew Cook the chance at two UNI records.

Cook needs just one more successful field goal to take sole possession of the UNI and MVFC records for the most made career field goals. He would overtake former Panther Billy Hallgren’s mark of 64.

In addition, Cook is 113-for-113 on PATs. If he stays perfect on his career stat, he will set a new UNI record for most consecutive PATs, beating out Tyler Sievertsen who also has 113 consecutive PATs.

UNI football (5-4 / 4-2 MVFC) leads the series with South Dakota State (8-1 / 6-0 MVFC), 33-23-2. The Panthers are 20-11 at home against the Jackrabbits. It will be the 19th meeting between veteran coaches Mark Farley of UNI and John Stiegelmeier, who is in his 26th year with SDSU. Farley leads the matchup 11-7.

Farley has the most wins of any Panther coach in UNI program history and in the MVFC. He also leads in MVFC wins with 110 victories over league schools.

Stiegelmeier (.633) is second to Farley (.641) in winning percentage among MVFC coaches. Farley has a career record of 173-97, and Stiegelmeier is 193-112. Stiegelmeier is 125-61 since SDSU joined the FCS in the 2008-09 season, and he has the second most MVFC wins with 82.

Both teams will take their bye weeks following this weekend’s matchup. This weekend is just the sixth time a top-ranked team has visited the UNI-Dome since 1986. UNI’s last home win over a top-ranked opponent ended NDSU’s FCS record 33-game win streak.

1997 – Youngstown State, 35-32 W

1998 – McNeese State, 20-17 L (OT)

2012 – North Dakota State, 33-12 L

2014 – North Dakota State, 23-3 W

2018 – North Dakota State, 56-31 L

UNI will be celebrating Senior Day prior to kickoff, as well as Military & First Responder Appreciation Day during both the pregame activities and throughout the game.

Full-time UNI students in attendance can be entered into a drawing for the chance at a $1,000 scholarship.


UNI is coming off its first top-20 win of the season with a 37-36 win over Southern Illinois. UNI leads the MVFC in league games decided by a single point. UNI has been in 18 of the 44 games decided by one point between MVFC teams and has won 12 of them.

Quarterback Theo Day had a career-high five passing touchdowns against Southern Illinois, which helped earn him CFPA (College Football Performance’s CFPA) Co-FCS National Performer of the Week honors.

He connected with Desmond Hutson on two passes to the end zone. The career-high scores led to MVFC Newcomer of the Week honors for Hutson.

UNI’s offensive line also played a key factor in helping the Panthers rack up 461 total yards. For his part in the UNI victory, Matthew Vanderslice was named the MVFC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week, the third consecutive week a UNI player has earned the honor and fourth time this season.

Farley is 61-14 in the month of November.

Day continues to lead the MVFC in passing yards (2,471), yards per attempt (9.4), passing efficiency (165.5), passing touchdowns (19), passing yards per game (274.6), total offense (281.7).

UNI leads the MVFC in first downs offense (217), total offense (438.1), passing offense (280.3), defensive touchdowns (2).

Cook is the FCS leader in field goals among active placekickers with 64. He is second in the nation for field goals made per game with 1.49.

Spencer Cuvelier leads UNI in tackles with 77 total. He is fifth in the MVFC for tackles per game with 8.6.


South Dakota State’s 23-21 road win over reigning FCS national champions North Dakota State on Oct. 15 pushed the Jackrabbits to the top of the rankings. SDSU’s only loss came in the season opener in a 7-3 loss to Iowa.

For the first time in program history, SDSU played a home game as the top-ranked team in a college football poll last weekend against Indiana State. SDSU posted its second consecutive win with 49-points. The Jackrabbits beat Indiana State 49-7 after beating North Dakota 49-35. Both were season-high scores for SDSU.

Armed with a powerful offense, SDSU is also posting top defensive stats. The Jackrabbits have had one interception in all nine games and lead the MVFC in multiple categories:

First downs defense / 124 (No. 8 in FCS)

Passes intercepted / 12 (No. 7 in FCS)

Red zone defense / 63.2% (No. 2 in FCS)

Scoring defense / 15.1 (No. 4 in FCS)

Team passing efficiency defense / 115.09 (No. 15 in FCS)

Total defense / 260.8 (No. 2 in FCS)

Turnover margin / 1.33 (No. 5 in FCS)

Turnovers gained / 18 (No. 6 in FCS)

Red zone offense / 94.6% (No. 3 in FCS)


#1/1 South Dakota State (8-1 / 6-0 MVFC) vs. UNI football (5-4 / 4-2 MVFC)

4 p.m. Nov. 5, 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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