Iowa State will host Northern Iowa under the lights in the season opener for both on Saturday. It will be the first start for new I.S.U. quarterback Steele Jantz, who passed for more than three thousand yards in the California junior college ranks a year ago.
I.S.U. coach Paul Rhoads says Jantz has the mentality it takes to lead the offense, as he is the same guy every day, no matter what happens. Jantz will lead an offense that plans to use an up tempo style. He says the offense has to execute that and adjust to how the officials spot the ball.
Rhoads says the defensive line will need to be assignment sound against Panther quarterback Tirrell Rennie, who rushed for nearly 1,300 yards last season.
U.N.I.’s last victory in this series was back in 2007 and coach Mark Farley says his team is going to Ames with the idea of winning. Farley says he always believes they should have a chance to win any game on any field they step on. He says it’s always about how they play, not who they play, because if they don’t play well, then they will struggle.
Farley says the Panthers know they are the underdog but feel like they should be competitive. He says the Cyclones have more depth with more numbers, and he says his team has more in-state players and people may think the out-of-state players are better. But he says “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Farley says the Panthers cannot afford to make the mistakes they did in last year’s 27-0 loss to the Cyclones. he says they did not perform to the level of what they wanted to, and a lot of that had to do with the way the Cyclones played.
Farley says the Panthers have the correct attitude heading in, with the expectation to win every game that they are in, as he says they don’t look at it as a “step up” but see it as “an opportunity to play a Big 12 football team.”
Elwin Huffman, KOEL Oelwein, also contributed to this story.