Northern Iowa goes on the road to Southern Illinois this week, a place the Panthers haven’t won since 1996. The Salukis are 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference, but Coach Mark Farley believes they are starting to hit their stride under a new offensive coordinator.
Farley says they play a balance of run and pass and got off to a tough start, but have now appeared to have adjusted to a new system. He says they got a huge win beating Illinois State last week and they should have a lot of confidence after that. Farley says it’s also their homecoming and they have a new stadium.
U.N.I. has lost the last six games at Southern, and needs a win to stay on top of the conference race, and he doesn’t think the new stadium will have much impact. Farley says it’s a big football game for both teams and they should have a big crowd, which will be more of a factor than the stadium. Six of the last seven games have been decided by a point or less and that always makes the meetings a tough game — which Farley says is a good thing.
Farley says it brings out the players and he says they know it will be a challenge and difficult, but that’s what it should be because that means you’re playing in a good league against a good football team and that generates excitement. Five of the last seven U.N.I. games are on the road.
Farley says they had a front-end loaded schedule and now it’s time to go on the road and he says the team is ready to go on the road. “We’ve played a lot of good teams, I think everything has happened to us that could happen to us in these games, and we just need to keep maturing. I think part of maturing is going on the road and playing well on the road,”Farley says. The road team has won only once in the last 13 games.
By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein