The UNI defense received high praise from head coach Mark Farley this week as the Panthers get set to host New Hampshire this weekend in the quarterfinal round of the national playoffs. The Panthers are 11-2 and Farley says much of the reason is the play of a defense that he says is the best in the program’s history.

Farley says that includes the defense of 1992 which he says had some great players on it. He says as a group it is the most balanced defense from the line on. Farley says they deserve that mention because they have played so hard and make a difference in games. He says you know the defense is good when it can change momentum and swing the crowd with its play, and he says that’s what this defense is doing.

Farley says that unit will be tested by a New Hampshire offense that Farley says has not missed a beat even though the Wildcats needed to replace standout quarterback Ricky Santos from last year’s team that fell to the Panthers 35-32 in last year’s opening round. He says they are a lot better than the team they saw last year.

Farley says quarterback Pat Grace is returning to his early season form. Grace injured a knee midway through the season and Farley says his ability to run the ball was limited even after he returned. Farley says when Grace is aggressive, he takes the team to another level, and it’s nice to see him do that and make the runs he needs to make.