Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley says every season opener is a mystery and Saturday night’s game at Iowa State is no different. The Panthers are ranked fifth in the FCS pre-season coaches poll after posting a 9-5 record in 2015 ands making it to the quarterfinal round of the national playoffs.
“I know what we are and I know what we can be”, said Farley. “I just don’t know what we are today and that will show up with that first game.”
The Panthers have an experienced offense with nine starters back, including quarterback Aaron Bailey. The defense is young and will be counting on several new faces, especially in the secondary where there will be two new starters at cornerback.
“No matter who we put back there when you have got one playing for the Packers and one playing for the Bears it is not the same. That is a position you can’t hide and the talent at Iowa State will expose that.”
This is the second straight season the Panthers have opened under the lights in Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State won last year’s game 31-7.
Elwin Huffman at KOEL contributed to this story