The UNI Panthers open the Missouri Valley Conference football race at home this weekend against a South Dakota State team that is 2-0 in the league race after opening the season with a 44-17 loss at Iowa State.

Panther coach Mark Farley says it’s a big season opener with South Dakota State already winning two conference games. Farley says it won’t be the same team that played Iowa State in the opener, and has grown since then. SDSU has been dominant the past couple of weeks.

Farley says beating Youngstown State and Western Illinois gives them a lot of momentum against two very good conference teams. Farley says South Dakota State has made a quick transition from division two under coach John Stiegelmeier. He says they’ve tried to do some things in building the program by watching UNI, Youngstown State and Western Illinois.

Farley says South Dakota State is a legitimate contender in the Valley race and is as good as Southern Illinois, and they’d better not dare think it will be an easy game.

UNI is 1-1.