The UNI Panthers open the Gateway Conference race this weekend with a visit to Illinois State. The Panthers are 4-0 and third ranked nationally.UNI coach Mark Farley who says the Redbirds have a lot of talent and went all the way to the quarterfinals last year, and have the preseason all-conference quarterback.
Farley says Illinois State has always been to him the most athletic team they face. This is the last of four straight on the road for the Panthers but Farley says it is the most meaningful. He says they’ve had their trouble at Illinois State and they need to be ready for this game as it’s a conference game.
Illinois State is 2-2 and can ill afford to open conference play with a loss. Farley says everyone knows the numbers game, and that the numbers are against them. Farley says they expect to meet an Illinois State team that sees this game as a must win. Farley says his team was in the same position last year, and his team needs to match Illinois State’s intensity.
The Panthers are 4-0 but Farley says with so many teams off to great starts they don’t feel like the favorites in the league race. Farley says there are four teams ranked in the top 20 and they have beaten some great teams in the non-conference.