UNI Football: Opener Moved To Friday, Start Times Announced
When UNI's pandemic-delayed football season begins next month, the Panthers will be opening at home one day earlier than previously announced.
Coach Mark Farley's squad is now scheduled to host Illinois State on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 PM at the UNI-Dome. When the Missouri Valley Football Conference released the league's eight-game spring schedule in September, UNI was slated to face the Redbirds on Saturday, Feb. 20 in Cedar Falls.
UNI athletics officials announced the date switch and kickoff time Thursday morning. They also released the start times for six of the Panthers' seven remaining games, three of which are at home.
As a result of the date change, UNI will start the season with two Friday night games for the first time in program history. After hosting Illinois State, the Panthers travel to South Dakota Feb. 26 for a 6 PM battle against the Jackrabbits.
UNI's three remaining home games are all scheduled to be played on Saturdays, starting at 4 PM. The Panthers host Missouri State March 6, three-time defending national champion North Dakota State April 10 and South Dakota State April 17.
Because of the league's scheduling rotation for 11 teams, UNI will not play Indiana State or North Dakota.
|UNI FOOTBALL 2021 SPRING SCHEDULE|
|FRI., FEB. 19:||vs. ILLINOIS STATE||7:00 PM|
|Fri., Feb. 26:||at South Dakota||6:00 PM|
|SAT., MARCH 6:||vs. MISSOURI STATE||4:00 PM|
|Sat., March 13:||at Western Illinois||1:00 PM|
|Sat., March 20:||at Southern Illinois||Noon|
|Sat., March 27:||at Youngstown State||TBA|
|SAT., APRIL 10:||vs. NORTH DAKOTA STATE||4:00 PM|
|SAT., APRIL 17:||vs. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE||4:00 PM|
|*Sat., April 24:||FCS Playoffs||TBA|
|**BOLD = Home Games at UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls**|
Pairings for the FCS Playoffs will be announced April 18, with first-round games beginning April 24. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors in September voted to reduce the playoff field to 16 teams, cutting eight spots from the traditional 24-team bracket. The national championship game will be played in Frisco, Texas, between May 14-16.
The Panthers were picked third in the fall STATS Preseason Poll, which was released in late August. They return much of their offensive prowess, including All-American receiver Isaiah Weston and Honorable Mention All-MVC quarterback Will McElvain. On defense, UNI returns Freshman All-American corner Omar Brown and Sophomore All-American Bryce Flater and Second-Team All-MVFC tackle Jared Brinkman.
In all, six UNI players were named to the FCS STATS Perform Preseason First and Second Teams.
Farley enters his 20th season at the helm and is the active leader in playoff wins with a 17-12 record in his career. He has 159 career victories, all at UNI.