U.N.I. coach Mark Farley believes the Panthers still could make the FCS national playoffs despite a 1-4 record. The Panthers will be on the road this weekend in the Missouri Valley Football Conference to take on Southern Illinois.

Farley says the question would have been no two years ago, but with 20 teams in the field now, he believes it is wide open on paper.

But Farley says there is little room for error and every game from here on out is big.

“You’ve got to be good each week…each game is a difference-making game, you’ve got to be consistent and you can’t beat yourself,” Farley says. After starting the season 0-2, Southern Illinois has won three of its last four and Farley credits an improved defense that he says it getting more pressure on defense.

Farley says the key against the Southern defense will be to stay in manageable third down situations by controlling the line of scrimmage. Southern is coming off a 17-0 victory over Illinois State and the Salukis are 1-1 in the Valley.

By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls