Preview: Panthers travel to North Dakota


After a disappointing 48-17 loss on the road against Air Force to begin the season, the UNI football team will be staying on the road this week as they travel to the Alerus Center in Fargo, N.D. for a meeting with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. UNI and North Dakota both enter the game with a record of 0-1 after week one losses.

North Dakota are the newest members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, joining from the Summit League. Like the Panthers, North Dakota also competed with an FCS school in week one, traveling to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. for a matchup with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Fighting Hawks managed to keep it close against the Big 10 team, entering the fourth quarter trailing just 24-17. Nebraska would ultimately pull away in the fourth, winning by a final of 38-17.

It was a very good day for North Dakota quarterback Tommy Schuster. The junior completed 24 of his 37 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown. Schuster spread those completions among several of his teammates, as 10 players caught at least one pass. In the running game, Isaiah Smith led the charge, carrying the ball 10 times for 109 yards, including a 63-yard pickup. The defense was led by Ted Mullin who finished with seven tackles.

Special teams were also solid for North Dakota in the opener. Cade Peterson placed two of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and also had an impressive 59 yard punt. Brady Stevens knocked in his only field goal attempt from 23 yards out.

For UNI, Theo Day performed well in the opener, completing 20 of his 32 passes for 286 with two touchdowns and one interception. Sergio Morancy and Logan Wolf both had touchdown receptions for the Panthers. In the ground game, Dom Williams led the charge, carrying the ball 11 times for 45 yards. Korby Sander had an impressive day defensively, leading the team with 11 tackles. Edwin Dearman also had a good day, picking up three tackles, including two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.

Kicker Matthew Cook knocked in a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter. However, he did miss an attempt from 52 yards late in the fourth quarter. Cael Loecher had a great day in his first career start at punter, placing three of his four punts inside the 20 yard line, as well as having two punts of 50 yards or longer.

This is the first matchup between these two teams since 2006. In a matchup inside the UNI-Dome, North Dakota pulled out the win, 35-31. In their first matchup in nearly two decades, UNI will look to take down the Fighting Hawks in their first meeting as MVFC foes. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ESPN3.