Nov. 23, 2010
No. 16/16 University of Northern Iowa (7-4) vs.
No. 18/19 Lehigh (9-2)
Series vs. Lehigh: First meeting
Radio: Panther Sports Network
Gary Rima (play-by-play), Scott Peterson (analyst)
The University of Northern Iowa football team will compete in the FCS playoffs for the 15th time in program history when it hosts Lehigh in the first round on Saturday at noon in the UNI-Dome.
The Panthers enter the game with a 7-4 record and as the champion of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. UNI won five straight before dropping its regular-season finale at Western Illinois, 30-14.
Lehigh enters the game as the Patriot League champion after winning its final seven games of the regular season to improve to 9-2 on the season.
This is the first meeting between the teams.
Mark Farley is in his 10th season with the Panthers, and he has posted an 89-36 record in that time. The 2010 season marks the sixth year that Farley has led the Panthers to a conference title and into the FCS playoffs.
Andy Coen is in his fifth season as the head coach for Lehigh, and he has led the Mountain Hawks to a 29-26 overall record in that span.
• The University of Northern Iowa is headed to the playoffs for the sixth time under head coach Mark Farley. UNI has been to the playoffs 15 times total, and the Panthers have played 18 playoff games at home, posting a 14-4 record in the UNI-Dome.
• This is the first time the Panthers have entered the playoffs coming off a loss.
• Saturday’s game will be the fist time the Panthers have met a member of the Patriot League.
When the Panthers clinched the MVFC title on Nov. 13, it was the 15th time that UNI has won at least a share of the Valley championship and the sixth time for the achievement under Mark Farley. The win guarantees UNI’s 15th trip to the FCS playoffs, the sixth trip to the playoffs under Farley, and the fourth time in six years that the Panthers have extended their season.
TACKLING THE BOOKS
Ben Boothby was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-America Second Team. The junior defensive lineman led the MVFC in sacks, and he holds a 3.85 GPA in movement and exercise science.
Carlos Anderson enters the playoffs in striking distance of the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season. He enters Saturday’s meeting with Lehigh with 880 rushing yards to his credit, and the sophomore averages 85.8 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in four games this season. If he reaches the milestone, Anderson would be the second Panther to do so this season, joining junior quarterback Tirrell Rennie. The Panthers have never had two 1,000-yard rushers in one season.
Tirrell Rennie became the 20th Panther and the first UNI quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season when the junior passed that milestone against Indiana State on Nov. 6. Rennie has rushed for 1,205 yards on the season, ranking seventh in the UNI record books for rushing yards in a season. He currently ranks 14th among FCS players for rushing yards this season, and he is the only quarterback among the top 25 rushers.
GETTING HIS KICKS
Billy Hallgren broke the UNI career scoring record when he kicked a field goal against Youngstown State on Oct. 30. The senior has 363 points to his credit, surpassing Bring Wingert’s mark of 331 set from 2003-06. He also surpassed Wingert’s mark of 63 career field goals, tallying 64 in his four years with the Panthers.
UNI head coach Mark Farley is becoming known for his winning prowess in the month of November. Since taking over the head coaching duties in 2001, Farley has posted a mark of 29-6 in the month of November. In fact, heading into Saturday’s game against Missouri State, UNI has won 24 of its last 27 November games.
THAT’S HIS SPECIALTY
Sophomore Carlos Anderson was named the MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 14 after returning the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and totaling 118 return yards on three returns.
The Panthers were -8 on turnovers through their first three games of the season, committing 11 turnovers while their opponents gave the ball away just three times. UNI committed just 10 turnovers in the eight games since then, while taking the ball away 16 times for a +6 turnover margin.
Quentin Scott returned an interception for a touchdown against Western Illinois on Nov. 14, 2009.
Tirrell Rennie became the first Panther to score four rushing touchdowns in a game since 2001 when he tallied four scores against Illinois State. Adam Benge was the last player to do so, collecting four touchdowns against Eastern Illinois on Dec. 1, 2001. Rennie’s scores came from 10, 11, one and 47 yards. Rennie also threw for a touchdown in the Panther win, and he set a career high with 153 yards on the ground.
RESPECT FOR RENNIE
Tirrell Rennie was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference and The Sports Network/Fathead.com National Offensive Player of the Week after having a hand in all five of UNI’s offensive touchdowns against Illinois State. The junior quarterback rushed for four and threw for another. He also tallied a career-high 153 yards rushing.
MOVING THROUGH THE AIR...
Tirrell Rennie threw for a career-high 265 yards at South Dakota, more than doubling his average of 111.0 passing yards per game entering the contest.
...AND ON THE GROUND
The Panthers had two 100-yard rushers against Southern Illinois, marking the second straight game for the feat. Tirrell Rennie led UNI with 126 yards on the ground, and Carlos Anderson finished with 112. The Panthers racked up 325 rushing yards in the game, the most this season.
A SPECIAL AWARD
Billy Hallgren was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after making a career-high four field goals at South Dakota. It was the first time a Panther had made four field goals in a game since Brian Wingert connected four times against North Dakota State on Sept. 11, 2004.
STOPPING THE RUN
UNI ranks 15th in rushing defense among FCS teams, giving up just 107.6 rushing yards per game. The Panthers are holding their opponents to 3.10 yards per carry.
When the Panthers and Salukis went into overtime on Oct. 9, it was the first time UNI played an overtime game since the 2005 season. That year, UNI went into overtime twice, beating Western Kentucky 23-20 in double overtime and winning at Texas State 40-37 in overtime in an FCS Semifinal. Saturday’s game was the fourth overtime game under head coach Mark Farley, who is in his 10th year with the Panthers. It is the first time UNI lost an overtime contest since falling 29-22 at Western Illinois in 1997.
MARTIN NAMED DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Andre Martin was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct 3. Martin came up with two interceptions and forced a fumble in UNI’s 24-14 win over South Dakota State. Martin’s first pick came late in the fist half. With SDSU threatening to score at the UNI seven, Martin intercepted the ball in the endzone to send UNI into the break with a 7-0 lead. Martin’s second pick came in the third quarter with the Panthers protecting a 14-7 lead. The sophomore came up with a pass from Kyle Minett in the endzone to stop the SDSU drive. Martin also finished the game with eight tackles.
When UNI fell 27-0 to Iowa State on Saturday it was the first time the Panthers were on the wrong side of a shutout since losing the season opener to Iowa State 23-0 in 2004.
A SPECIAL HONOR
Sophomore running back Carlos Anderson was named the MVFC special teams player of the week on Sept. 19 after racking up 179 yards on kickoffs, including 99 yards for a touchdown, when the Panthers faced Stephen F. Austin. Anderson also tallied 81 rushing yards.
RED ZONE WOES
The Panthers fumbled the ball inside the Stephen F. Austin 20-yard line three times, with SFA recovering all three drops. UNI turned the ball over inside the 20 twice in its season opener to North Dakota State, and the Panthers also missed a pair of field goals in that win.
ALL OR NOTHING
The Panthers’ three touchdowns against Stephen F. Austin all came on big plays, and two were on the first play of a drive. QB Tirrell Rennie took the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage for 75 yards and a touchdown. In the second quarter, RB Carlos Anderson returned a kickoff for 99 yards and a TD. Later in that quarter, WR Jarred Herring took a Rennie pass 83 yards for a score.
IN THE LONG RUN
Carlos Anderson’s 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is the third-longest kickoff return among FCS teams this season. Tirrell Rennie’s 75-yard touchdown run against Stephen F. Austin is the 12th-longest run among FCS teams this season.
KEEP ON RUNNING
The Panthers have two of the nation’s top 20 rushers on their roster, with Carlos Anderson and Tirrell Rennie each ranking in the top 20 in rushing yards per game. Rennie ranks 14th with 111.0 yards per game, and Anderson ranks 19th with 103.2 yards per contest.
Ben Boothby was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week following his record-tying four-sack performance against North Dakota State on Sept. 11. The junior finished with 4.5 tackles for loss and seven total tackles in the Panthers’ season opener. Tirrell Rennie was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week after throwing for 172 yards and rushing for 96 in his Panther debut.
The Panthers tied the school record with 11 sacks against North Dakota State on Sept. 11. L.J. Fort tallied 2.0. The 11 sacks cost the Bison 77 yards, and the Panthers totaled 15.0 tackles for loss, resulting in 91 yards lost for NDSU. UNI’s 11 sacks are the second-most by an FCS team this season.
Punter Kyle Bernarnd and linebacker James Conley were each named honorable mentions for the Week 2 College Football Performance Award at the FCS level on Sept. 12. Carlos Anderson was named the national kick returner of hte week by the organization on Sept. 19.
Quarterback Tirrell Rennie tallied nearly 300 yards of offense in just three quarters of action against Stephen F. Austin. The junior threw for 162 yards and ran for 132 more before being knocked out of action with an injury late in the third quarter.
CARLOS’ CAREER DAY
Carlos Anderson set a career high with 158 rushing yards against North Dakota State on Sept. 11. Anderson carried the ball 11 times, averaging 14.4 yards per carry. It was the second career 100-yard game for the sophomore, with his previous mark of 113 coming against Youngstown State in 2009.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
Quarterback Tirrell Rennie had an impressive debut for the Panthers, throwing for 172 yards and rushing for 96 in the Panthers’ win over North Dakota State. Rennie, a junior college transfer, was 10-of-20 for UNI.
QUITE A KICK
Kyle Bernard broke the UNI-Dome record with a 75-yard punt in the third quarter against North Dakota State on Sept. 11. With the Panthers leading 9-3 and facing fourth-and-two on their own 11, Bernard pinned the Bison inside their own 20, starting their drive on their own 14. The Panther forced NDSU to punt from their own 18 on that drive, and the ensuing UNI possession resulted in the Panthers’ only touchdown of the game.
The UNI defense held North Dakota State to -40 yards rushing on Sept. 11, marking the first time the Panthers held an opponent to negative rushing yards since holding Northern Arizona to -44 yards rushing on Nov. 19, 2005. That total is still the fewest rushing yards allowed this season among FCS teams.
UNI holds a 176-44-1 record in the UNI-Dome. The Panthers have gone undefeated at home in a season seven times since 1990. 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.
UNI senior tight end Schuylar Oordt has earned several preseason honors, including preseason All-America honors from College Sporting News, the FCS Senior Scout Bowl, The Sports Network and Consensus Scout Services.
FOLLOW THE PANTHERS ONLINE
UNI fans can get all their Panther news and notes on UNIPanthers.com. Fans can also follow UNI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uniathletics and on Twitter at @UNIAthletics.
MVFC PRESEASON POLL AND TEAM
UNI was picked to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference by the league’s coaches, sports information directors and media members. Running back Carols Anderson and tight end Billy Hallgren were each honorable mentions.
2010 MVFC Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Southern Illinois (30) 313
2. South Dakota State (2) 252
3. Illinois State (3) 249
4. Northern Iowa (1) 244
5. Missouri State 164
6. North Dakota State 151
7. Youngstown State 130
8. Western Illinois 70
9. Indiana State 47