Preview: Bears @ Panthers



Theo Day (12) had one of his best games as a Panther on Saturday, passing for 308 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

The UNI football team is looking to end their four game home stand with a victory against conference opponent Missouri State (2-4, 0-3 MVFC) for the purple out game. The Panthers have gone 2-1 in their last three games at home and 3-1 in the last four overall. 

UNI has won eight of the last 10 games against the Bears but have lost the past two. Last year’s matchup turned out to be a shootout coming down to the last minute of the game. Theo Day had a rough start last year throwing two interceptions in the first half. The Panthers found themselves down 13-6 at half time. Day nearly doubled his passing yards from the first half as he threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Tyler Hoosman also found the endzone in the second half on a two-yard touchdown run. After being down 14 points at one point, UNI found themselves at a 27-27 tie late in the fourth quarter before MSU quarterback Jason Shelley threw a 55-yard touchdown to win the game.

Day continued his stellar season last week as he had arguably his best game thus far. He accounted for four touchdowns on the day, three in the air and one on the ground, as well as throwing for over 300 yards for just the second time this season. The biggest play of the game came late in the second quarter on a 70-yard touchdown pass to Sam Schnee. This was Day’s second longest touchdown pass of the season. He ranks sixth in passing yards among FCS schools with 1,850 and is tied for 16th in touchdown passes with 16. He ranks first in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in both of those categories as well. 

The Panther offense looked great all around last week and will look to continue that success. UNI had their most productive performance of the season putting up nearly 550 yards of offense in the 41-14 thumping of Utah Tech. Schnee had the 70-yard touchdown reception, and his 154 receiving yards was a season high. Dom Williams ran in his fifth touchdown of the season early in the second quarter. Benny Sapp III recorded his third interception of the season in the game. Edwin Dearman also had an interception.

Missouri State is coming off a tough loss to Southern Illinois 38-21. In the loss, quarterback Shelley threw for 195 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. Jacardia Wright had 83 rushing yards in the contest and ran in for two touchdowns as well. The Bears defense struggled against the pass allowing for two SIU receivers to break the 100 yard mark. Ty Scott led MSU in receptions with four and receiving yards with 60 in the loss as well.

UNI enters this game sitting sixth in the conference rankings with a 3-4 record and a 2-2 record in conference play. They will look to carry that momentum from last week to get back to .500 on the season. Kickoff will be at 4 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 22, in the UNI-Dome. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.