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UNI Gridiron Club Blog by Eric Sanders
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Sunday 09/02/2011

 

GRIDIRON BLOG #13 - Dec. 2, 2011

It's PLAYOFF TIME!!!!   After an outstanding regular season we find ourselves back in the playoffs as the #5 seed!  This marks the 7th time in 11 years under Coach Mark Farley that the UNI Panthers will be in the NCAA Playoffs.  It also marks the 7th time in Coach Farley's era that the UNI Panthers are conference champions!

We would like to give a special thanks to all of our fans and alumni that have supported our program this year and would like to extend a special invitation to all of our fans to come to the UNI-Dome this Saturday and help fill the seats as we line up to play the Wofford Terriers.  Wofford will be a tough challenge for us but our kids have had 2 weeks of great preparation and are ready to go.  Playoff games are always exciting here in the Dome so come watch us play at 4 pm Saturday!

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GRIDIRON BLOG #12 - Nov. 18, 2011

A special thanks goes out to everybody that came out and supported us last week in our last regular season home game!  Our seniors enjoyed the crowd and the atmosphere as we came from behind to beat a good Southern Utah team 34-21.  It was a great day for our 18 seniors who have done so much for this program and are a major reason why this program is still one of the best in the nation.  We now have turned our attention to this week's game against Illinois State.

This upcoming game against Illinois State is the biggest of the year.  If we can come out with a win in Normal, Ill., it would put us in position to win or share the conference championship, and probably give us a great seed in the playoffs with home-field advantage.  These big games are what our players work so hard in the off-season for.  We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us and our players are focused and ready to go for this game. 

We hope to see you in Normal, Ill., Saturday at 11 a.m. - and if you can't make it - we hope that you can watch or listen to us and help us to a victory!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #11 - Nov. 11, 2011 

We got back on track last week as we rallied in the fourth quarter to beat a good Youngstown State football team!  Youngstown State came into last week's game riding a three-game winning streak and gave us a tough game - but in the end we came out on top 21-17 to improve our record to 7-2!

With two regular season games left, we are in good position to get into the playoffs as long as we can take care of business these next two weeks.  It all starts tomorrow as we play a tough Southern Utah team who comes into the Dome with a 5-4 record.

Tomorrow is going to be a special day for our seniors as it is Senior Night.  This senior class is an incredible one and has won 33 games - and counting - in their years here at UNI.  We hope that all of you can come out and show your appreciation for our seniors as we try to win our 8th game of the season!  See you tomorrow at 6 p.m.!!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #10 - Nov. 4, 2011

Well, we suffered a tough loss last Saturday at the hands of North Dakota State, 27-19.  Our guys played their hearts out but we didn't play our best football game that's for sure.  After the loss many of the guys were disappointed - but that has definitely refocused our team and our guys have had a great week of practice this week. 

Despite the loss from last week, we would still like to thank all of the UNI fans in attendance that made the trip to Fargo, N.D.  Your continued support is only going to help this program grow stronger and stronger as the season goes on. 

We play Youngstown State @ the UNI-Dome this Saturday which is going to be another tough challenge for our team as they are currently on a 3-game winning streak.  We hope to play very well Saturday and we hope to see you guys at the DOME!  Kickoff is at 4pm..see you there!!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #9 - Oct. 28, 2011

We would like to thank everyone who came out to our game last Saturday for the black out!  It was an awesome scene in the UNI-Dome as we defeated rival Southern Illinois 17-10!

We are auctioning off the jerseys we wore in the black out win over Southern Illinois. Check out the link at http://www.unipanthers.com/sell/SellHome.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=26200&_MODE_=AUCTION

As for this weekend's game ...#2 @ #3 for sole possession of first place in the MVC - do I need to say anything more??  See you in Fargo Saturday @ 3 pm.

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #8 – Oct. 21, 2011

We got a great victory last Saturday at South Dakota State defeating the Jackrabbits 31-14 which puts us 4-0 in the conference and at the top of the Valley!  We would like to thank everyone who made the trip to Brookings and helped us to a victory!!  Our fans have been absolutely incredible this season and we hope that you will continue to show your support for the rest of the year!!

We started the game off a little slow but then responded very well as we took control of the game in the second quarter and led at halftime 21-14.  In the second half we pulled away in the 4th quarter scoring 10 points and our defense shut the Jackrabbits out.   This 2011 team has been very special so far this season as we have played extremely well both on the road and at home.  We are still ranked #2 in the country just behind Georgia Southern with 5 games left during the regular season. 

Saturday’s at the UNI-Dome are becoming more than just UNI football. The size and amount of tailgating going on before and after the games is truly amazing. UNI has always been a special place but when you drive up on game days and see the fans everywhere, it makes you realize how special this place really is. It makes you so proud to be a Panther!!

Our kids have had a great week of practice and they know the tough challenge they face this Saturday when Southern Illinois comes to town for another huge Missouri Valley Conference game.  Kickoff is at 3 pm Saturday so come out and enjoy another Saturday in the UNI-Dome!! 

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #7- Oct. 14, 2011

Thanks to everyone who came out to the UNI-Dome last Saturday to help us get a BIG conference win over Indiana State!  It was great to see a crowd of over 16,000 in the Dome - as well as the number of people who were out in the lots tailgating.  In all of the years I have driven up to the Dome before a game - I had never seen as many Panther fans out tailgating as I did this past Saturday!  Also, a special thanks to the members of the 2001 UNI Football team as many of them came back for Homecoming this past Saturday.

We beat a very good Indiana State team last Saturday as it was one of the tougher games we have had all year.  We knew it was going to be a tough task to beat the Sycamores, but our kids were up to the challenge and played four quarters of solid football.  We outplayed Indiana State in all three phases of the game; offense, defense, and special teams which enabled us get the 23-9 win.

We are still ranked #2 in the nation and we currently sit #1 in the Missouri Valley Conference, just ahead of North Dakota State.  This Saturday we travel to South Dakota State for another tough conference game.  If you can't make it to Brookings, we hope you can tune in on ESPN3 and watch our game there.  Kickoff is at 6 p.m.!!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #6- Oct. 7, 2011

We got another big win last week as we went down to Springfield, Mo., and defeated the Missouri State Bears, 42-7!  We played very well in all phases of the game as our offense had 442 total yards, while our defense held Missouri State to 262 yards.  We had numerous players step up and play well to help us get this victory.  On defense, senior linebackers L.J. Fort and Jordan Smith led the way with a combined 30 tackles, and defensive back Varmah Sonie intercepted a 2nd quarter pass and returned it for a UNI touchdown to help us take a 14-point lead into halftime.  On offense, our wide receivers had their best game of the year led by Terrell Sinkfield's 5 catches for 94 yards.  Senior wide receiver Jarred Herring also had a big day with 4 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.  Running back David Johnson had another solid game with 130 total yards and 2 more touchdowns to bring his season total to 7.  Quarterback Terrell Rennie continued to command the offense as he was 13-16 for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 54 yards rushing.   Some of our young players also got the chance to shine last Saturday as redshirt freshman QB Jared Lanpher saw his first action as a Panther and went 6-7 for 46 yards and a touchdown.  Redshirt freshman WR Kevin Vereen caught his first touchdown as a Panther as he had 3 receptions on the day.

Our team is off to a great start as we are still ranked #2 in the country and are 2-0 in conference play.  We will face one of our toughest challenges of the year this Saturday when we host #17 ranked Indiana State in a conference showdown.  It's our Homecoming Saturday so we hope we have a HUGE crowd and sell out the dome!!  The game kicks off at 4:00 so come out and tailgate with your friends and support our Panthers - see you tomorrow!!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #5 - Sept. 30, 2011

On behalf of all of the Football Coaches we would like to thank ALL of you who came out to our game last Saturday and cheered us on to a 38-10 win against Western Illinois!  It was a great way to open up in our first home game of the season seeing THE DOME with over 16,000 Panther fans in it!  I know our players loved it and it helped them play at a very high level so thanks to all of our Panther fans!

We played very well last week in all phases of the game.  On special teams, Terrell Sinkfield made a huge play as he blocked a punt in the first quarter that set up the first UNI touchdown.  On offense, we had another good day as we rushed the ball for 275 yards.  David Johnson had 132 yards and Terrell Rennie rushed for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as throwing for 142 yards and two more touchdowns.  On defense we held the Leathernecks to 10 points as senior LB L.J. Fort racked up 12 tackles and senior DL August Hadenfeldt punished the Western Illinois o-line with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

A couple of players have earned accolades early in the season.  Senior DL Ben Boothby was just named as a semi-finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy - which is given to the nation's top scholar-athlete that excels both on the field and in the classroom.  Also, freshman RB David Johnson has been named to the Jerry Rice Watch List - which is given to the nation's best freshman.

We hope you can join us down in Springfield, Mo., tomorrow at 1 p.m. for our game against Missouri State!  We hope to keep our win streak going and get another conference win! 

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG - Sept. 23, 2011

After a good week of practice and preparation - our team is looking forward to getting back on the field this Saturday.  We are ranked No. 2 in the nation again this week.  This Saturday we play Western Illinois in our home opener as well as our conference opener. It's also Family Weekend so we are expecting a great turnout this Saturday in the Dome.  Our kids have been looking forward to this game for some time.  It's going to be nice to play in front of OUR fans and inside the UNI-Dome!  We are all very excited for this game and hope that many of you can come out this Saturday, do a little tailgating, and then come inside the Dome to watch some football at 4:00!  We will see you there!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG #3 - Sept. 16, 2011

It's a great time to be a Panther!! After last Saturday's 34-23 victory at No. 12-ranked Stephen F. Austin, our football team is now ranked No. 2 in the country! After a slow start last Saturday, the Panthers were able to outscore Stephen F. Austin 31-16 over the final 3 quarters and hold on for a hard-fought road win.

Three Panther football players earned weekly honors last week for their individual performances. On offense, senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie was named MVFC Offensive player of the week as he had 277 total yards and two touchdowns. Also, redshirt freshman running back David Johnson was named MVFC Newcomer of the week for the second week in a row after he had 87 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, senior linebacker Jordan Smith had one of his best games as a Panther as he had 16 tackles with an interception.

After our first two weeks of games, we have a bye week this week - but our players still had a tough week of practice. Coach Farley really emphasized on making improvements on the little things this week and our players had a great week of practice. Next week is when the real fun begins as we finally get to play at home and it's our conference opener against Western Illinois! We hope you all have a great weekend and hope to see next Saturday in the UNI-Dome!

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG - Sept. 9, 2011

As many of you know - we lost a heartbreaker last week in Ames in our game against Iowa State.  Although we lost the game, we moved up in the national rankings to #3 in the country (coaches' poll) as a result of our strong showing against a Big 12 school. As coaches, we really focused on the positive things from last week to help prepare our team for this Saturday's game at No. 12-ranked Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. 

Both sides of the football played very well last Saturday against the Cyclones.  On defense, we held Iowa State to 328 total yards and forced four turnovers - two of them by junior safety Garrett Scott as he intercepted two passes during the game.  On offense, we had a very balanced offensive attack totaling 385 yards.  Our offense was led by Tirrell Rennie who garnered 127 yards rushing and 181 yards passing, and redshirt freshman running back David Johnson who had 119 total yards and 2 touchdowns in his very first collegiate game as a Panther. 

One of the greatest things that came from our game at Iowa State was the amount of support that we had from Panther Nation in Jack Trice Stadium! We had numerous alumni and fans in attendance at the game as we covered one of the corners of the stadium in purple and gold! We can't thank our fans and alumni enough for the amount of support they gave us on Saturday and we hope for the continued support throughout the year. 

Our kids had a great week of practice and are very focused on our next opponent.  We will be ready to go on Saturday at 6:00 vs. Stephen F. Austin! 

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GRIDIRON CLUB BLOG - Sept. 2, 2011

This is Eric Sanders - former player and currently an assistant football coach here at the University of Northern Iowa, and I will be writing a weekly blog on this website to keep our fans and alumni up to date on what is going on with Panther Football!

Expectations for this season are extremely high - as they usually are here at the University of Northern Iowa.  Coming off a conference championship season last year - we return 18 starters - led by seniors such as Ben Boothby, Tirrell Rennie, L.J. Fort, Jarred Herring and August Hadenfelt.  All five of these players were voted co-captains by the players during our fall camp.

Knowing that our expectations are so high - our players really bought into our summer workout program this year with our strength coaches Jed Smith and Nick Davis.   Virtually our whole team stuck around this summer for summer workouts - not only does this help individuals become better players - but it really creates a bond between our players and creates a team chemistry that you must have if you are going to be a championship team.  Our guys then reported to fall camp Aug. 3.  We had a vigorous and physical two and a half of week grind which ended Aug. 20.  For the past two weeks we have been preparing for Iowa State.  Our players have had a great two weeks of practice and they will be ready to go this Saturday at 6 p.m.! 

On behalf of all of the football coaches here at UNI, we would like to give a special thanks to our fans, alumni, and all of those who support our football program.   BECAUSE OF YOU - this football program is one of the top FCS programs in the country, it has been for many years, and will continue to be amongst the top in the nation. 

We hope to have a memorable season this year - it all starts Saturday in Ames; we will see you there!

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University of Northern Iowa Gridiron Club

Mission Statement

The University of Northern Iowa Gridiron Club is an official support group recognized by the University of Northern Iowa Department of Athletics.   The mission of the UNI Gridiron Club is to contribute to the advancement of Panther football in a method consistent with the parameters set by the NCAA, the Missouri Valley Conference and the University of Northern Iowa.   The UNI Gridiron Club works with the coaches and athletics administrative staff to achieve the following goals:

  • Raise money for special projects and services for the football program and staff which are not provided for in the annual Athletics Department budget.
  • Sponsor and conduct activities which foster a positive football family atmosphere and spirit.
  • Ensure good communication and exchange of information between the football staff and its supporters.

Contributions are tax deductible and used for unbudgeted UNI football program expenses that have been approved by both the Athletics Director and the Head Football Coach.

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The University of Northern Iowa football program has enjoyed a rich tradition of success with the help of many boosters.  This group was created to continue the rich tradition and help keep UNI football among the finest programs in the FCS division of college football.  The funds from the Gridiron group will be used to enhance our budget and targets areas that directly relate to building and sustaining the quality that is characterized by the University of Northern Iowa Football Program.  

Providing the Tools to Succeed

  • Increase recruiting budget
  • Increase summer school opportunities
  • Improve video and office technology
  • Provide pre-season camp housing and pre-game meals

Your investment in the UNI Gridiron Group will enhance the opportunity for future success of our football program. 

 Thank you for your support.

 






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