The UNI Panthers will host Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night in the opening round of the FCS playoffs. The Panthers finished the regular season with a record of 8-4 and were one of 16 at-large selections. “I’m just glad we are playing this Saturday and we’ve got a home game, to me the most important thing was to get in,” UNI coach Mark Farley said.
The teams have met nine times in the regular season, the last coming in 2011, but have never met in the playoffs. Farley says Stephen F. Austin has always been a good team and it is important that they have a home game to be able to create some momentum.
The Panthers got in the field by winning their last five games. Farley says they are relieved because of what they had to go through and at one point he says it looked bleak that they would make the playoffs.
The Panthers turned their season around after starting 3-4. The winner Saturday will advance to play fifth seeded Illinois State on December sixth.
Saturday’s 38-24 loss at UNI was Terry Allen’s final game as the Missouri State head coach. The former Panther coach was fired on Sunday after nine seasons at the helm. “It’s poetic justice that I would coach my final game here,” Allen says. He says he’s proud that the team came and fought into the 4th quarter.
In his eight season as the UNI coach Allen’s teams won or shared seven conference titles but he could never duplicate that success at Missouri State where is teams finished third or better only twice in nine seasons. “I don’t have any idea what I am going to do,” Allen says.
(Reporting by Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein)