Panthers beat Penguins, Farley gets 100th MVC win

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Toni Fortmann

Coach Mark Farley earned his 100th Missouri Valley Football Conference against Youngstown State.

DAVID WARRINGTON

The fifth-ranked UNI Panthers football team traveled to Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday for a Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup against the Youngstown State Penguins. Both teams came into the game with a record of 0-1 on the season. UNI head coach Mark Farley entered the game with 99 career conference wins, and after a strong performance in which the defense dominated, he left as the first coach ever to reach 100 conference victories when the Panthers won 21-0.

The Penguins won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half, so the Panthers got the first crack at things offensively. The UNI offense looked strong early, putting together a 15-play, 61-yard drive that took 8:23 off of the clock. However, they stalled out in the red zone and had to settle for a field goal. A 32-yard field goal off of the foot of Matthew Cook put the Panthers ahead 3-0. On the Penguins first drive of the day, the UNI defense was stout, picking up a sack and forcing a three-and-out.

In the second quarter, the Panthers put together another long drive, but again couldn’t punch it in for a touchdown. They settled for a field goal from Cook, this one from 41-yards, to move ahead 6-0.

Right before halftime the UNI offense looked poised to put more points on the board, but a pass from quarterback Will McElvain was intercepted, and the teams went into the break with UNI leading 6-0.

The Penguins got the ball to start the second half, and they put together their best drive of the day. They drove all the way to the UNI 21-yard line, but the 38-yard field goal attempt from Colt McFadden was wide to the right, and the Panther defense maintained their shutout. The teams traded punts before the UNI offense started putting together a strong drive to end the third quarter.

Just three plays into the fourth quarter, the Panthers finally found the end zone when running back Dom Williams punched it in from two yards out, putting UNI ahead 13-0. After another defensive stop, Williams would run in another touchdown, this time from one yard out. A two point conversion pass from McElvain to Deion McShane would put UNI up 21-0, a score that would hold until the end.

McElvain had a solid game at quarterback, completing 15 of his 30 pass attempts for 183 yards and one interception. Tyler Hoosman was the leading rusher, picking up 68 yards on 12 attempts. Williams also had a nice game on the ground, carrying the ball 15 times for 35 yards and both of the Panthers two touchdowns on the day. “We knew we had to come back from last week, and we knew what we had to fix. We just worked all week at being able to bounce back,” Williams said after the game.

The UNI defense dominated in this game, allowing only 135 yards of total offense as well as picking up seven tackles for loss and three sacks. Linebacker Spencer Cuvelier led the Panthers with 11 tackles, while Khristian Boyd finished with seven tackles and a team-high two sacks.

With the victory, Farley is now the first coach to ever reach 100 victories in MVFC play. Currently in his 20th season at the helm of the UNI football program, Farley has been a model of consistency during his time in Cedar Falls, with a career record of 159 wins and 83 losses.

The Panthers move to 1-1 on the year with the win. They will return home to the UNI-Dome on Saturday, March 6 for a matchup with the seventh-ranked Illinois State Redbirds. They will then be back on the road, traveling to Carbondale, Ill. for a game against the Southern Illinois Salukis on Saturday, March 13.