After beating two top ten opponents at home the UNI Panthers visit a place that has not been kind to them when they play at Southern Illinois this weekend. The Panthers have dropped eight straight games in Carbondale with their last win coming back in 1996.
“When you win a game, it doesn’t matter who it is, the stakes go up the next week, so the stakes have gone up again this week,” UNI coach Mark Farley says. He says it’s even tougher as they have to go on the road and haven’t done a good job there in the past.
UNI’s pass rush the past two weeks has been a major factor and Farley says depth on the defensive line is a key as they are able to put more pressure on the quarterback with their intensity of play. He says keeping the players fresh and playing with more than 4 is what keeps the defense fresh.
Like the Panthers Southern Illinois is 6-4 overall. Farley says they have a new offensive coordinator who has changed some things, but they have the same defensive scheme.
Farley says a big part of UNI’s improved play has been a strong ground game. That was a big factor in a 23-3 win over then top ranked North Dakota State as they rushed for 213 yards, ate up the clock and kept the defense on the sidelines and fresh in the final quarter.
(Reporting by Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein)