The University of Northern Iowa begins a stretch of games Saturday that starts with Western Illinois and includes three out of four at home in the UNI-Dome. Coach Mark Farley says winning at Youngstown State has put them in a great position in the Gateway Conference race.
Farley says the game at Youngstown was huge, but he says he also felt they had to win the month of October, and they have one game left in the month. Farley says Western is a quality team that’s played some tough opponents. Last year’s team had a run of success late in the season that led the Panthers to their first appearance in the Division One-Double-A National Championship game.
The Panthers moved to seventh in the latest one-double-A national poll and Farley says the entire team seems to be jelling right now. Farley says he likes it because they’re playing as a team on offense, defense and special teams. Farley says he told his team when something happens on the offense, the defense will counter, and the same for the defense. And Farley says the special teams will always get you back into the game.
Western Illinois is led by quarterback Steve LaFalce. Farley says LaFalce is an experienced quarterback and he says they run the Hayden Fry type offense that Western Illinois coach Don Patterson ran as Fry’s offensive coordinator at Iowa. Farley says the Leathernecks’ have balanced offensive attack. Farley says that’s they way they’ve always coached, running and passing the ball.
U-N-I is 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the Gateway Conference, while Western Illinois is 3-5 and 0-4.