#12/#11 Wofford (8-3, 6-2 Southern Conference)
Game #12 • Sat., Dec. 3, 2011 • 4:05 p.m. (Central)
Cedar Falls, Iowa • UNI-Dome (16,324/MondoTurf)
Series vs. Wofford: First Meeting
Television: ESPN3 / ESPN GamePlan
Radio: Panther Sports Network
UNI FOOTBALL QUICK HITS
• The No. 2-ranked University of Northern Iowa football team will open the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship with a second-round game against No. 12 Wofford. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 3, in the UNI-Dome. ESPN3 will broadcast the game live, and it will also be made available on the ESPN GamePlan package.
• The Panthers are making their 16th appearance in the FCS Playoffs and their seventh since head coach Mark Farley took over in 2001.
• With a 23-20 double-overtime win at Illinois State on Nov. 19, UNI locked up a share of its 16th Missouri Valley Football Conference championship and its seventh title since 2001.
• The 2011 season was UNI's fifth regular season with at least nine wins since 2001. UNI posted nine or more regular-season wins in 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2011.
• UNI senior linebacker L.J. Fort has been named the 2011 Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
• Fort is tied for second in the nation in total tackles (151) and tackles per game (13.73). With 151 total tackles through 11 games, Fort has already racked up the fourth-most tackles in a season in UNI history. His 323 career tackles are the sixth-most ever by a Panther.
• UNI's mark of 18 defensive interceptions to 3 interceptions thrown (plus-15) is tied for the best mark in all of Division I football (FBS and FCS combined).
• The Panthers rank No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 16.18 points per game.
• UNI sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen has been the most accurate field goal kicker in all of Division I football (FBS and FCS combined) in 2011. Sievertsen has made 17-of-18 field goals (94.4 percent). No other kicker in the nation with more than 11 FGs made has a percentage that high.
• In the Division I era, UNI has never beaten a team from the Southern Conference. Since 1985, the Panthers are 0-4, with all four meetings coming in the FCS Playoffs. This is the first time that UNI has hosted a Southern Conference opponent in the Division I era.
• UNI head coach Mark Farley is second on the Panthers' all-time win list with 98 career victories. Farley's 96th win, coming against Youngstown State on Nov. 5, pushed him past former coach Clyde Starbeck, who notched 95 wins from 1936-42 and 1945-57. Farley now trails only Stan Sheriff's 129 wins, which he accomplished from 1960-82.
• UNI has posted an all-time record of 619-382-47 since the inception of Panther football in 1895.
The No. 2-ranked and No. 5-seeded University of Northern Iowa football team will open the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship with a second-round game against No. 12/11 Wofford. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 3, in the UNI-Dome.
This will be the first-ever meeting between UNI and Wofford.
UNI head coach Mark Farley is in his 11th season at the helm of the Panther sideline. Farley has posted a mark of 98-39 in 11 seasons, which includes seven trips to the NCAA FCS playoffs. Farley has notched a record of 60-20 in MVFC play, which ranks him No. 1 on the all-time league wins chart.
Mike Ayers is in his 24th season as the head football coach at Wofford. He owns a record of 162-110-1 with the Terriers and an overall career mark of 173-131-2. Ayers is 4-5 in the postseason.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and made available on the ESPN GamePlan package. Shawn Kenney and Rob Harley will call the action.
The game will be broadcast on the Panther Sports Radio Network. Gary Rima (play-by-play) and Scott Peterson (analyst) will call the action.
UNI PANTHERS INSIDE ACCESS
Panther fans will be able to view most of UNI's home football games on www.UNIPanthers.com through UNI Panthers Inside Access. For a nominal fee, fans can get live streamed audio and video of most home games of UNI volleyball, football, men's basketball, women's basketball and wrestling as well as some road contests. To sign up, please go to UNI's official athletic website at www.unipanthers.com and click on the Panthers Inside Access link on the front page.
UNI holds an 11-4 record in FCS Playoffs openers (formerly known as the first round until the playoff expansion from 16 to 20 teams in 2010).
The Panthers are 9-1 in home games in the Round of 16 and 5-1 since the Mark Farley era began in 2001.
UNI's History in the Round of 16
1985 Eastern Washington W, 17-14
1987 Youngstown State W, 31-28
1990 at Boise State L, 20-3
1991 Weber State W, 38-21
1992 Eastern Washington W, 17-14
1993 at Boston L, 27-21 (ot)
1994 at Montana L, 23-20
1995 at Murray State W, 35-34
1996 Eastern Illinois W, 21-14
2001 at Eastern Illinois W, 49-43
2003 Montana State W, 35-14
2005 Eastern Washington W, 41-38
2007 New Hampshire W, 38-35
2008 Maine W, 40-15
2010 Lehigh L, 14-7
LOOKING FOR A DOZEN
A win over Wofford would give UNI its 12th appearance in the FCS Quarterfinals.
Wofford posted an 8-3 overall record and finished in second place in the Southern Conference with a 6-2 mark in league play. The Terriers have nine winning seasons in the past 10 years.
Wofford advanced to the quarterfinal round of the FCS Playoffs in 2010 before falling to Georgia Southern, 23-20. The Terriers are 4-4 all time in the FCS postseason, with appearances in four of the last five seasons.
Junior fullback and Walter Payton Award candidate Eric Breitenstein leads Wofford with 1,343 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Wofford College is located in Spartanburg, S.C.
Wofford owns the nation's No. 1 rushing offense with an average of 356.2 yards per game on the ground. The Terriers are ninth in the nation in total offense (441.6 ypg).
Wofford is also the FCS leader in punt return average (19.4 yards per return).
Fullback Eric Breitenstein is averaging 122.1 yards rushing per game for the 11th-best mark in the country.
UNI senior linebacker L.J. Fort has been named the 2011 Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Fort tallied 57 points in the voting of league head coaches, sports information directors and media. Cornerback Marcus Williams of North Dakota State took runner-up honors with 41 points.
With Fort taking the honor in 2011, a UNI player has now claimed the award in four of the last five seasons.
Fort joins current UNI head coach Mark Farley (1985), William Freeney (1991, 1992), Andre Allen (1993, 1994), Adam Vogt (2001), Brannon Carter (2007), and James Ruffin (2008, 2009) in the rich history of Panthers who have claimed the league's top defensive honor.
With 151 total tackles through 11 games, UNI senior linebacker L.J. Fort has already racked up the fourth-most tackles in a season in UNI history. His 323 career tackles are the sixth-most ever by a Panther.
UNI's Top-10 Season Tackles List
1. Joe Anderson (1981) 170
2. Peter Burns (1992) 163
3. Adam Vogt (2001) 160
4. L.J. Fort (2011) 151
5. Matt Pedersen (1999) 150
T6. Reed Hunemuller (1978) 141
T6. William Freeney (1992) 141
8. Josh Mahoney (2008) 139
9. Ryan Doak (2000) 138
10. Darin Heideman (2005) 137
UNI's Top-10 Career Tackles List
1. Ryan Doak (1997-2000) 453
2. Matt Pedersen (1996-99) 426
3. Joe Anderson (1979-82) 380
4. Andre Allen (1991-94) 358
5. Paul Wolf (1991-94) 327
6. L.J. Fort (2008-present) 323
7. Reed Hunemuller (1975-78) 303
8. William Freeney (1989-92) 300
9. Bryce Paup (1986-89) 298
T10. Jason McCleary (1991-94) 296
T10. Casey Tierney (2000-03) 296
Fort is tied for second in the nation in total tackles (151) and tackles per game (13.73). He has posted at least 10 stops in every game this season.
UNI sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen has been the most accurate field goal kicker in all of Division I football (FBS and FCS combined) in 2011. Sievertsen has made 17-of-18 field goals (94.4 percent). No other kicker in the nation with more than 11 FGs made has a percentage that high.
40 CONSECUTIVE KICKS
Between field goal attempts and PATs, Sievertsen has converted 40 consecutive attempts. He has not missed a kick since his only miss of the season came on a 42-yard try against Western Illinois on Sept. 24.
Eight of Sievertsen's 17 field goals have come from 40 yards or further.
BEST IN THE RED ZONE
UNI is No. 1 in the nation in Red Zone scoring efficiency. The Panthers are 35-for-37 (94.6 percent) in Red Zone scoring opportunities this year. UNI has scored 25 TDs and has kicked 10 FGs in the Red Zone.
Last season, UNI converted 67 percent (30-of-45) of its trips in the Red Zone, including 38 percent for TDs (17-of-45).
NOT THROWING PICKS
UNI's season total of only three interceptions thrown is one of the best marks in school history. Only the 1957 and 1955 UNI squads threw fewer picks in a year, with each team throwing two interceptions.
Since 1985, the fewest interceptions thrown in a season by the Panthers came in 2007 when they had six.
UNI's mark of 18 defensive interceptions to 3 interceptions thrown (plus-15) is tied for the best mark in all of Division I football (FBS and FCS combined). Alabama State and Sam Houston State also have plus-15 interception margins.
INTs ARE KEY
Keyed by 18 interceptions this season, UNI leads the MVFC in pass efficiency defense (115.15 rating) and turnover margin (plus-1.36 per game). The Panthers are tied for fifth in the nation in interceptions (18) and average turnover margin.
UNI has 27 takeaways and 12 turnovers in 2011.
TOUGH TO SCORE
UNI is ranked No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 16.18 points per game. Four of the top five teams in scoring defense (No. 1 Sam Houston State, No. 2 North Dakota State, No. 4 UNI and No. 5 Norfolk State) qualified for the FCS Playoffs.
SECOND HALF SHUTDOWN
UNI has been especially stingy in the second half of games when it comes to giving up points this season. The Panthers have given up only 60 second-half points this season for an average of 5.5 points/game. UNI holds a 141-60 edge in second-half scoring.
UNI has allowed only 13 total points in the third quarter of games, outscoring its opponents by a 72-13 margin in the third quarter.
BIG CHUNKS OF YARDAGE
UNI has two players who rank among the FCS active career leaders in yards per carry. Quarterback Tirrell Rennie is No. 10 on the list with an average of 5.49 yards per carry, and running back Carlos Anderson is No. 12 on the list at 5.38 yards per carry.
With 100 yards at Illinois State (11/19), senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for his career at UNI. Rennie has racked up 2,030 yards in only 22 career games, and he is averaging 5.49 yards per carry for his career.
Rennie is eighth on the UNI career rushing touchdowns list with 24. One more TD will tie him with Errol Peebles (1985-88) for seventh on the all-time list.
AGAINST THE SOCON
In the Division I era, UNI has never beaten a team from the Southern Conference. Since 1985, the Panthers are 0-4, with all four meetings coming in the FCS Playoffs. UNI dropped three contests to Marshall (1991, 1995 and 1996) and one to Appalachian State in the 2005 I-AA national championship game.
This is the first time that UNI has hosted a Southern Conference opponent in the Division I era.
Redshirt freshman running back David Johnson has recorded 100 or more all-purpose yards in seven of UNI's 11 games this season.
FARLEY AGAINST THE BEST
Since taking over as UNI head coach before the 2001 season, UNI head coach Mark Farley holds a record of 13-11 against Top-10 teams and a mark of 32-19 against Top-25 teams.
UNI's last win vs. a top-10 team was a 36-34 win over No. 10 New Hampshire on Dec. 6, 2008, in the NCAA FCS quarterfinals.
UNI AGAINST THE BEST
UNI has the most wins in MVFC history against ranked FCS opponents, with a 67-42 mark all-time.
The Panthers are 3-1 this season against ranked FCS opponents with victories against No. 14 Illinois State, No. 16 Stephen F. Austin and No. 17 Indiana State.
NOSE FOR THE BALL
UNI senior linebacker L.J. Fort ranks No. 2 the nation with six forced fumbles in 11 games, and he is tied for No. 4 among active FCS players with eight forced fumbles in his career.
PAIR OF RUNNERS-UP
UNI had two players finish as runners-up in the MVFC balloting for specialty awards. Senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie finished as the runner-up for Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, and redshirt freshman running back David Johnson finished second in the voting for MVFC Freshman of the Year.
Shakir Bell of Indiana State was the league's Offensive Player of the Year, while Austin Sumner of South Dakota State was the MVFC Freshman of the Year.
Four Panthers are finalists for the top three FCS individual awards presented by The Sports Network. UNI's four finalists are the most in the nation for a single school.
Senior linebacker L.J. Fort and senior defensive lineman Ben Boothby are among the 20 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award (given to the top defensive player in FCS), senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie is on the ballot for the Walter Payton Award (top player in FCS), and redshirt freshman running back David Johnson is a contender for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award (top freshman in FCS).
SPOTTING SOME POINTS
On seven different occasions this season, UNI has allowed the opposition to score first. However, UNI has come back to win each of those games, holding a 7-0 record in that situation. UNI is 2-2 when it scores first this season.
FORT, SIEVERTSEN RECOGNIZED
Following a 23-20, double-overtime victory at No. 14 Illinois State on Nov. 19, L.J. Fort was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week and sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
At Illinois State, Fort had a game for the record books. He racked up a career-high 22 total tackles in the contest, including nine solo stops and 1.5 TFL. Trailing 6-3 with 2:52 left in the third quarter, Fort forced his sixth fumble of the season and the recovery led to a UNI scoring drive.
Sievertsen's three field goals and 11 total points carried UNI to a share of the MVFC title. He connected on field goal tries of 38, 40 and 36 yards and was also 2-of-2 on PATs.
Trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter, Sievertsen converted a 40-yard field goal attempt into a stiff wind to tie the game and force overtime with only five seconds remaining. In the second overtime period, his 36-yard field goal served as the game-winner.
HALF THE PLAYS
In its 23-20, double-overtime, come-from-behind victory at Illinois State on Nov. 19, UNI found a way to win while only running half as many plays as the Redbirds.
Illinois State ran 100 offensive plays in the game, while UNI only managed 50. The Panthers were outgained 401-191 in the contest.
RENNIE IN MVFC PLAY
In seven MVFC games this season, senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie is a combined 93-of-140 passing for a 66.4 percent completion rate. He has thrown for 1,184 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception in conference play.
JOHNSON COMFORTABLE IN THE ENDZONE
Redshirt freshman running back David Johnson has racked up 11 touchdowns in his first 11 career games. David Horne owns the UNI record for touchdowns in a season with 19 in 2005.
Facing its largest deficit of the season at 21-7 with 12:57 left in the second quarter against Southern Utah (11/12), UNI scored 27 unanswered points to win 34-21.
The 14-point deficit was the largest faced by the Panthers since Nov. 20, 2010, when they trailed Western Illinois 30-0.
LARGEST MARGIN OVER SUU
UNI's 34-21 victory over Southern Utah on Nov. 12 is the only time this season that SUU has been defeated by more than 6 points.
FORT FLIPS SIDES
Senior linebacker L.J. Fort made his debut on the offensive side of the ball for the Panthers against Southern Utah. Fort entered at running back in goal-line situations on two different occasions, each time carrying for a one-yard touchdown run.
RETURN OF THE GROUND GAME
After rushing for a total of 83 yards in its previous two contests combined, UNI broke out for a season-high 284 rushing yards in a 34-21 win over Southern Utah (11/12). Junior Carlos Anderson led the attack with 115 yards, quarterback Tirrell Rennie had 86, and redshirt freshman running back David Johnson added 82.
UNI honored 18 seniors prior to the Nov. 12 game against Southern Utah.
The Panther seniors include: offensive lineman Kaleb Admire (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), defensive lineman Ben Boothby (Clinton, Iowa), offensive lineman Sean Boren (Mount Vernon, Iowa), defensive lineman Darren Branch (Twinsburg, Ohio), defensive back Tre'Darrius Canady (Sioux City, Iowa), wide receiver Josh Collins (Sioux City, Iowa), linebacker James Conley (Des Moines, Iowa), defensive lineman Will Eilert (Grinnell, Iowa), linebacker L.J. Fort (Waynesville, Mo.), linebacker Shawn Gerard (Eldridge, Iowa), defensive lineman August Hadenfeldt (Solon, Iowa), wide receiver Jarred Herring (Burlington, Iowa), defensive back Montari Leonard (DeLand, Fla.), quarterback Tirrell Rennie (North Lauderdale, Fla.), linebacker Jordan Smith (Humboldt, Iowa), offensive lineman Jay Teply (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), tight end Austin Wells (Norfolk, Neb.) and offensive lineman Justin Wissler (Wall Lake, Iowa).
A pair of UNI freshmen played key roles in the Panthers' 21-17 win over Youngstown State (11/5).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Lanpher made his first career start and passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman running back David Johnson scored the game-clinching touchdown from 1 yard out with 1:59 on the clock.
LANPHER NAMED MVFC
NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Lanpher was named the MVFC Newcomer of the Week for his play against Youngstown State (11/5).
Lanpher (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs HS) made his first career start and led the No. 6-ranked Panthers to a 21-17, come-from-behind victory over Youngstown State in the UNI-Dome. He connected on 16-of-28 passes for a career-high 238 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Lanpher hit Terrell Sinkfield for a 32-yard scoring strike in the first quarter to put UNI on top 7-3. Following a Penguin touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first half, Lanpher put together a two-play, 61-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 31-yard touchdown pass to Sinkfield.
Lanpher also conducted a 10-play, 63-yard drive in the fourth quarter that gave UNI the victory when David Johnson rushed in from one yard out with 1:59 remaining.
In all, Lanpher completed six passes of 25 yards or longer on the day.
CALL IT A COMEBACK
For the second straight season, UNI used a touchdown in the final two-plus minutes of the game to defeat the YSU Penguins.
In 2010, Tirrell Rennie scored on a 19-yard touchdown run with 2:08 left in the game to provide the Panthers a 34-30 victory.
This season it was David Johnson scoring on a 1-yard plunge with 1:59 left in the game to push UNI to a 21-17 win over the Penguins.
Prior to the two comebacks against the Penguins, UNI's previous fourth quarter comeback win came in the first round of the 2007 NCAA FCS playoffs in a 38-35 win over New Hampshire - the winning points coming on a 24-yard pass from Eric Sanders to Montari Leonard with seven seconds left in the game.
SMITH, SCOTT LEAD IN PICKS
Senior linebacker Jordan Smith intercepted his fourth pass of the season on Nov. 5 against Youngstown State to take over the team lead, but junior safety Garrett Scott tied the race for the top spot one week later with a game-clinching interception against Southern Utah.
Since making the move to Division I football, only two times has a Panther linebacker led the team interceptions - Mark Farley (5 INTs in 1985) and Brannon Carter (5 INTs in 2007).
Redshirt freshman running back David Johnson leads UNI in receptions and is second on the team in rushing yardage this season through 11 games.
Johnson has rushed for 730 yards and eight touchdowns. As a receiver, he has tallied a team-best 30 receptions for 409 yards and three scores.
Johnson has 11 total touchdowns and ranks second on the team with 66 points through 11 games.
The Panthers are 113-53 against non-conference teams since 1985.
UNI's two non-conference wins so far this season are a 34-23 road win at Stephen F. Austin (9/10) and a 34-21 home victory over Southern Utah (11/12).
Sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen has made 17-of-18 field goals (94.4 percent) this season.
Brian Mitchell holds the UNI single-season record of highest field goal percentage at 96.3 percent (26-of-27 FGs) in 1990.
FARLEY RANKS NO. 2 AT UNI
UNI head coach Mark Farley moved into sole possession of second place on the Panthers' all-time win list following a 21-17 win over Youngstown State.
Farley's 96 wins pushed him past former coach Clyde Starbeck, who notched 95 wins from 1936-42 and 1945-57.
Farley now trails only Stan Sheriff's 129 wins, which he accomplished from 1960-82.
Seven different Panthers have led UNI in receptions in a game this year.
Darion Howard, Josh Collins (twice), Jarred Herring (four times), Brett LeMaster, David Johnson (twice), Terrell Sinkfield (three times) and Kevin Vereen Jr. have all either led UNI or tied for the team lead in catches in a game this season.
TOP OF THE VALLEY TO YA!
UNI head coach Mark Farley took over the all-time Missouri Valley Football Conference lead in victories with his 55th in the Panthers' 42-7 win at Missouri State (10/1).
Farley and Missouri State head coach Terry Allen entered the UNI-MSU game tied at 54 apiece. Farley has posted a league mark of 60-20 in 11 seasons.
Farley is also 6-0 in head-to-head matchups vs. the Panthers' former head coach Allen.
UNI is 69-5 in the Mark Farley era (2001-present) when holding the opposition to 20 points or less.
UNI when holding the opp. to 20 or less
2003: 6-1 (lost to Iowa St 17-10)
2004: 4-1 (lost to Western Kentucky 17-10)
2009: 6-1 (lost to Iowa 17-16)
2010: 6-1 (lost to Lehigh 14-7)
2011: 7-1 (lost to Iowa State 20-19)
TOTAL - 69-5 (3 of the losses against FBS schools)
UNI is 65-3 in the Mark Farley era (2001-present) when scoring 30 or more points in a game.
UNI when scoring 30 or more points
2004: 6-1 (lost to Southern Illinois 40-36)
2006: 6-1 (lost to North Dakota 35-31)
2010: 4-1 (lost to Southern Illinois 45-38)
TOTAL - 65-3 (2 of the losses against Southern Illinois)
HOME SWEET DOME
UNI is 182-45-1 (.799) in the UNI-Dome. The Panthers have gone undefeated at home in a season seven times since 1990.
Prior to 1998, the Panthers had two consecutive undefeated seasons in the Dome. The Panthers have posted three perfect home seasons under head coach Mark Farley, including 2001 (6-0), 2003 (6-0) and 2005 (7-0).
Prior to a September 24, 1994, loss to McNeese State, UNI had won 29 straight regular-season games in the Dome dating back to the 1989 season when it lost 22-14 to Mankato State in the first game of the year.
The Panthers are 72-13 in home Missouri Valley Football Conference games, leading the league in home conference victories.
UNI went 4-0 in league home games in the 2011 season with victories over Western Illinois, Indiana State, Southern Illinois and Youngstown State.
Three members of UNI's honorable mention All-America 4x100 sprint team will play extensive action this season for the Panther football team.
Running back Carlos Anderson, wide receiver Jarred Herring and defensive back Wilmot Wellington qualified for the NCAA Track & Field Championships last spring.
The Panthers have three players averaging more than 15 yards per catch in 2011.
Senior Jarred Herring (27-421; 15.6 avg), freshman Chad Owens (5-91; 18.2 avg) and junior Terrell Sinkfield (27-458; 17.0 avg) lead the UNI receiving corps in that category.
AT THE CENTURY MARK
UNI quarterback Tirrell Rennie ranks No. 14 among all active FCS players with a career average of 92.3 rushing yards per game. Of the top 20 players on the list, Rennie is the only quarterback.