Nearly a month into the season the U.N.I. Panthers will open their home season and the Missouri Valley Football Conference race against Western Illinois. The Panthers opened with two road games then had last week off and sit at number two in the national polls.
U.N.I. coach Mark Farley says they are excited about getting into conference play and getting to play at home and he says they are off to a good start. He says they are a young football team and a lot of players will be playing in the UNI-Dome for the first time.
The Panthers are 1-1 and so far on the plus side of the turnover ratio. They have only turned it over once while the defense has eight take aways. He says they tend to get some interceptions with this defense and they are athletic enough to dig out some interceptions.
U.N.I. is the defending Missouri Valley champion and the Panthers have found the right formula over the years. They have won or shared 15 league titles in the last 26 years. Farley says they have and advantage with Iowa kids and regional kids that have a strong work ethic and they have good facilities.
Farley says it is never easy to win a conference championship because you have to go on the road and win and there are some exceptional schools where it is tough to win. He says there are schools that have won national titles and it is a battle in every game.
By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein