The U.N.I. Panthers need to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to Southern Illinois in a hurry as the prepare to face another ranked opponent. The sixth rated Panthers visit an 11th ranked South Dakota State team that is 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the league race.
U.N.I. coach Mark Farley says they are very good and right now are at the top of the league. Farley says the Jackrabbits are built around a good defense. He says,”They are a tough, hard-nosed football team is what they are and they’re sound in what they do and they’re physical in what they do.”
South Dakota State views this game as an opportunity to show it is a legitimate title contender. Farley says that can be said for every team they face, and he is not concerned about what the other teams think, but is more concerned about his team avoiding highs and lows. He says they are going to get every team’s best effort.
South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier is not trying to downplay the significance. He says they don’t care what happened in the past and are not looking ahead to the future. Stiegelmeier says every game has playoff implications and this is a way to change the face of S-D-S football.
Stiegelmeier says this is the type of game the program needs to win to reach the next level. He says if they are going to compete for the conference championship, then you have to bring your best football and put the program on the national map.
Stiegelmeir does not mind the “blue collar” tag that has been placed on his team.
He says a lot of the guys on the staff and the nature of the state and the university are blue collar. “If blue collar means you work your tail off and do things right, then I’m very proud of that title,” Stiegelmeier says.
U.N.I. is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the league race.