At one point this season the U.N.I. Panthers had a record of 2-3 but with a victory on Saturday over Missouri State the Panthers would clinch no worse than a share of the Missouri Valley Conference football championship. The Panthers have won four straight and host a Missouri State team that is 4-5 under former U.N.I. coach Terry Allen.
U.N.I. coach Mark Farley says they are putting up 35 points a game and you can win a lot of games doing that. He says it’s as good a team as Allen has had and the team is getting older and knows the system.
Farley says the Panthers have turned their fortunes around by limiting mistakes as they are doing a better job of not turning the ball over and not getting penalties. He says they caused some of their own problems in the early season. Another factor is the play of junior quarterback Terrell Rennie who has rushed for more than 1,100 yards this season and helped the Panther offense average more than 32 points in the last five games.
Farley says Rennie has the ability to get out of trouble along with the awareness and intelligence to work their system and makes the players around him more effective. Allen says the UNI defense has been overlooked as he says that’s the first thing you always start with in looking at them.
The Bears have an outstanding quarterback of their own in senior Cody Kirby, who Allen says has been the building block of their program.
This is Allen’s fifth year at Missouri State and he makes another trip back to the school where he played and coached. He says his daughter was one when he was last in Cedar Falls and he says people who remember him are old, so it’s just going back and playing a football game.