Preview: #8 Hornets @ Panthers



The Panthers matched up with Sacramento State at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif. last season. The Panthers got the victory, 34-16.

CADEN SHEA, Sports Editor

The UNI Panthers will finally make their 2022-23 season debut in the UNI-Dome this weekend as they face a top 10 team in the form of the eighth-ranked Sacramento State Hornets. The UNI-Dome will be rocking, as this is the first time that home fans will be able to see their team in action this season. The fans will also be in for a treat—this weekend is Hall of Fame weekend for the Panthers, as many UNI athletic legends take their place in UNI history forever including football player Chad Rinehart who played guard for the Panthers in the mid-2000s. This weekend will not be one to miss for every single Panther fan.

Quarterback Theo Day has been exceptional thus far in the season. He leads the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) in total offensive yards with 629 and is ranked eighth in the nation in yards per game with a total of 310. Day holds many other records including the longest completion of 72 yards on a pass to Deion McShane. Speaking of McShane, the wide receiver is coming off a career high game with 157 yards against the University of North Dakota. Fellow wide receiver Sam Schnee had 109 receiving yards against North Dakota. The skill position players are not the only ones receiving love early in the season. Offensive lineman Erik Sorensen won the Offensive Lineman of the Week for the MVFC this past week. Sorensen is a big presence that definitely makes a difference for this UNI offensive brigade. The UNI offense is definitely one to watch in the MVFC and they look to bring that signature flair to Cedar Falls this weekend alongside the defense led by linebacker Spencer Cuvelier. 

Sacramento State will be no easy task for the Panthers, however. They are bringing an energetic offense with a hard hitting defense to pair with it. The Hornets boast a 1-0 record this year after running through Utah Tech 56-33. Led by coach Troy Taylor, former offensive coordinator for Utah, Sacramento State has built up an impressive organization. They enter the game as the number eight team in the FCS, making them a big target in the eyes of the Panthers. The Hornets went 9-3 last year, showcasing their power and presence on the football field. This team is unique in the fact that they have two quarterbacks sharing snaps for a majority of the game. The quarterback room is led by Jake Dunniway with Asher O’Hara following not too far behind. They spread the ball around pretty well, giving players of all positions a chance to make plays and possibly score. They also have an impressive defense led by safety Gavin Davis-Smith looking over the backfield. 

This upcoming matchup between the Sacramento State Hornets and the UNI Panthers should be an explosive offensive battle between two strong teams. The Panthers are prowling for their first win of the season and they believe that the home opener would be just the place to do so. They want to grab the attention of the Hornets, the fans and the MVFC with a victory this weekend. The game will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the UNI-Dome and will also be available to watch through ESPN+.