The UNI Panthers will host Richmond in the semifinal round of the FCS playoffs in a three o’clock kickoff this Saturday. The Panthers advanced after a wild, 36-34 victory over New Hampshire.
Panther coach Mark Farley says he’s proud of the football team as it took every phase of the game to win. He says it was a great game and a great effort. After falling in the quarterfinal round in 2007 the Panthers are going a step further and will get to host the game after Richmond upset three time defending champion Appalachian State.
Farley says they knew Appalachian State had lost, but didn’t talk about it, he says this year they earned their way in and got some help and now will get a chance to play the semifinal game at home. Farley says the Panthers would love to see the UNI-Dome sold out for the semifinal round.
Farley says the football team has taken it upon itself to get better, and he says they faced some adversity by injury and other means, and says though that they believe in themselves. Farley says the fans that did come to the game worked their tails off and made a huge difference.
Farley says the Panthers keep defying the odds, as no one thought they could run after losing two tackles who went to the NFL, no one thought they could pass after losing quarterback Eric Sanders, and people didn’t think they could play defense as BYU threw the ball against them early. He says the team hasn’t listened to the critics, but have listened to the coaches. Farley says they had the "Golden Goose" team last year and this team is the ugly duckling that’s starting to blossom.
Panther quarterback Pat Grace injured his non-throwing shoulder in the third quarter and left the game. He did come back towards the end of the game and expects to play this week. Grace says the Panthers have felt like underdogs all year. He says it was in the back of their minds all year long, but he says the captains have made it a point all year to say they are the underdogs and to go out and show everyone.