Preview: Panthers @ Coyotes



On Saturday, Theo Day (12) will have the chance to reach UNI’s top-ten list for passing yards in a season.

BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

The UNI Football team will close out their regular season in Vermillion, S.D. this weekend as they face the University of South Dakota Coyotes. UNI is coming off their bye week following a heartbreaking loss to South Dakota State and will look to finish off the regular season on a high note. 

South Dakota was victorious in this matchup last year beating the Panthers 34-21. It was the second half before UNI got on the scoreboard where they scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives. The first came from a 62-yard rush by Vance McShane followed by a 28-yard passing score to Sam Schnee. Another 20-yard passing touchdown on the Panthers final drive accounted for the rest of their 21 points. 

This was Theo Day’s first career 300 passing yard game and his only of the 2021 season, as he threw for 303 yards. McShane led the team in rushing with 65 yards while Quan Hampton led in receiving with nine receptions for 108 yards. The Panthers defense totalled three sacks and forced a fumble in the loss as well.

The last game for UNI was a close loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. SDSU secured the win on a last second field goal to win 31-28. Day accounted for three of the Panthers four touchdowns in this game, two through the air and one on the ground. He will look to continue his dominant stretch of games this weekend.

In the last four games for the Panthers, during which they have a 3-1 record, Day has averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game, while amassing 13 total touchdowns, 11 passing and two rushing, with a 5.5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio on 64% completion. The UNI offense is averaging 37.5 points per game while the defense is only allowing 25.3 points per game. All together UNI is outscoring their opponents by 46 points during this stretch.

Meanwhile, for UNI’s opponent, the Coyotes are coming off their seventh loss of the season in a game against North Dakota where the team gave up nearly 350 yards of offense. South Dakota quarterback Aidan Bouman threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns in the 28-19 loss. Sophomore receiver Carter Bell hauled in two of the scores while junior Wesley Eliodor caught the third. Travis Theis led the Coyotes in rushing with 95 yards on the ground as well.

The South Dakota offense is averaging only 16.5 points per game on the season ranking them second worst in the conference. This should lend itself nicely to the Panthers who rank fourth in the MVFC with over 30 points per game.

Some personal milestones could be achieved this weekend. With just 251 passing yards Day would become the first Panther with 3,000 passing yards in over 15 years. He already has the third most yards through the air in the last 16 seasons with 2,741. With just one more made PAT, kicker Matthew Cook would move solely into second place for the consecutive PATs records in the MVFC. 

Although UNI lost the matchup last season, they have still won three of the last four games and seven of the last 10, including the last game played in Vermillion in 2018. With this in mind the Panthers will look to finish off their season with a win and finish with a 6-5 winning record. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. The game will also be available for streaming on ESPN+.