The outright lead in the Gateway Conference is on the line this weekend when UNI visits Western Illinois. The 6-0 Panthers are top ranked nationally and coach Mark Farley says their run defense will be tested by Western Illinois running back Herb Donaldson. Farley says Donaldson is definitely the guy that makes it go, as he is a great runner with breakway speed.
Farley says this will be a big challenge, as they’re a good football team that is 2-0 in the league. After an emotional and hard fought win over Southern Illinois Farley says the Panthers must get ready for another tough game. He says it’s much like the Iowa State to South Dakota state swing between games, with the emotion. But Farley says this is different because this is a league game and their goal is to win the conference.
Farley says Western Illinois has a big play defense that does a good job of confusing offenses. He says it’s a different style that makes you prepare just for them. He says that makes it difficult to prepare for in three days.
Western Illinois coach Don Patterson says this will be an interesting matchup in a number of areas. Patterson says a lot of his team’s strengths are also the strengths of UNI. Patterson says the UNI defense will be tough to run on. He says the football team takes on the personality of their head coach and they play tough hard defense.
Patterson feels UNI’s biggest advantage is the experience of quarterback Eric Sanders. Patterson says he has a great deal of respect for Sanders and all his big game experience. He says his quarterback doesn’t have the same experience. Both teams are 2-0 in the Gateway. Western Illinois is 5-2 overall.