UNI goes 6-4 after defeating the Grizzlies



Trevor Allen (25) finds open field.

WILLIAM RIEPE, Sports Writer

The Panthers traveled to Springfield, Missouri to take on the Missouri State Bears on Saturday. Despite quarterback Eli Dunne being absent during the last three quarters of the game, a strong offensive line and a great rushing effort by Marcus Weymiller led the Panthers to a strong 25-10 victory over the Grizzlies.

The game had zero turnovers for both quarterbacks, even though quarterback Eli Dunne exited early. Backup quarterback Colton Howell showed Dunne’s trademark composure, and did not throw an interception.

Weymiller is currently averaging over 110 yards per game and a score per game. Weymiller’s strong running style and ability to make space and break tackles works well for a Panther offensive line that has struggled this season.

In Springfield, he finished with 131 yards on the ground, and 16 through the air, also grabbing a touchdown early in the first quarter to give the Panthers a lead that would last the entire game.

Having such a strong running game takes the pressure off the quarterback and also keeps opposing defenses honest.

The Panthers’ offensive line had a better showing this week, after South Dakota managed to get to UNI’s quarterback eight times last week. Their effort against the Bears this week allowed only two sacks and three hits on both Dunne and Howell.

This, coupled with their ability to make holes and open up lanes for Weymiller, made for a great week offensively for the Panthers. The Panthers enjoyed over 350 yards of total offense. They triumphed over a struggling Missouri State, that only managed to put together a little over 200 yards of total offense.

The Panther defense had another great performance this week, topped off by a 13 tackle performance by linebacker Jared Farley. Farley has been sitting at the top of the conference for tackles, both solo and assisted for most of the season.

Neal Rickey has come out of nowhere to cement himself as the sack leader of the conference, after not getting full snaps until the fourth game of the season. Rickey is currently averaging over one sack per game and nearly two tackles for loss when starting. Rickey has made a splash in the Missouri Valley Conference as a top defensive end talent.

Going into the final game of the season, the Panthers are looking hot. The offense has found a groove, dominating on the ground.

Now able to control the turnover count, hopes are high going into the final game of the season.

Starting the season off with a poor 3-5 record, the Panthers have won four of their last five games, including wins over 7-1 South Dakota, only losing to undefeated powerhouse North Dakota State.

The Panthers’ next challenge will be an 0-12 Indiana State.

It’s unknown if Dunne will be back after an early exit in the first quarter. However, fellow junior Colton Howell showed promise.

Indiana State has struggled this season, failing to grab a win in their first 12 games. Playing poorly on both sides of the ball, this game will be important for them to improve a poor season.

However, the Panthers have dominated over the last few weeks, collecting themselves after a slippery start to the season to come out with a 6-4 record overall and a 5-2 conference record.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at the UNI-Dome. This will be the final game of the season.