Iowa State enters practice this week with many questions remaining, while Northern Iowa answered some big ones after battling the Cyclones down to the wire in a 17-10 loss Saturday in Ames. Iowa State coach Dan McCarney is still wondering just how good his young offense can be after the close call with the one-double-A Panthers. He says they were very inconsistent on offense, but at times were very close. He says the defense didn’t force any turnovers, but he gives credit to U-N-I for being a good team.McCarney says overall it’s a positive to open the season with a win. He says he’s pleased to be 1-0, and says most teams improve the most from game one to game two, and he hopes that’s the case with his team. Freshman quarterback Austin Flynn scrambled a lot and was intercepted once, but McCarney says part of the credit goes to UNI’s defense. Senior wide receiver Jack Whitver had one of the Cyclone’s two touchdowns on a 13-year pass from Flynn. He says they got the win and that’s the important thing even though they didn’t play as well as they wanted to. Iowa State handled the Panthers easily in their last meeting, but Whitver says they weren’t taking their in-state rival lightly. He says there wasn’t anyone all week saying there weren’t a good team. For U-N-I coach Mark Farley, the game was an indication his team is ready to get back to its status as one of the top one-double-A teams after last year’s losing season. He says he’s very proud of his players, as they came to Ames to win. Farley says they fought toe-to-toe with a three-time bowl team, and he knows his program is headed in the direction it needs to go. Farley says this game will give his team confidence and help them improve. He says they need to learn from how I.S.U. attacked them and the success they had. Farley says they got “big played” at times and he says that will happen. Farley says he’s proud that his team held up when at one point it looked like the Cyclones might get the crowd into the game and take control. Farley says that indicates they can do a lot of good things in the future.Over 48-thousand fans watched the game in Ames, the largest opening day crowd for I-S-U since 1987. Iowa State plays Ohio at home Saturday, while U-N-I hosts Northern Michigan.