UNI Highly Ranked In Two Preseason Football Polls
The UNI Panthers earned top five rankings in both preseason football polls, it was announced on Monday (Aug. 8, 2016).
The Panthers landed at No. 5 in the STATS and FCS Coaches polls, continuing a streak that began 32 years ago. Since 1985, UNI has been the only Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) team ranked in a pre-season or regular-season poll every year.
The team hosted its annual media day on Friday. The Panthers return eight offensive and four defensive starters to the field this season, giving UNI fans a veteran group of student-athletes to keep an eye on.
Two seniors have already earned spots on National Player of the Year watch lists, with Karter Schult landing on the STATS Defensive Player of the Year watch list and Aaron Bailey on the STATS Offensive Player of the Year watch list.
Bailey made an immediate impact on the Panther squad in 2015 as the starting signal-caller, setting a school record for rushing touchdowns in a season and a MVFC record for rushing scores in a season by a quarterback. The 2015 MVFC Newcomer of the Year now sits at No. 2 all-time at UNI in career rushing yards per game, averaging 95.3.
Schult, a Tripoli, Iowa, native, set UNI records in tackles for loss in a season and career quarterback hurries in 2015, anchoring a defensive line that will have three of its four returning starters. Schult earned STATS FCS All-America honors last year along with CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team, showing Panther fans that he is reliable on and off the field.
The Panthers also bring back one of the most experienced staffs in the league, hauling in a staggering 20-plus years of NFL experience. Head Coach Mark Farley added two new assistants in UNI alum Ryan Mahaffey as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach and former Heisman Trophy Award finalist Collin Klein as the quarterbacks coach.
STATS FCS Preseason Top 25
|RANK||TEAM||VOTES (1st PLACE)|
|1||North Dakota State||3941 (152)|
|2||Sam Houston State||3636 (2)|
|3||Jacksonville State||3569 (4)|
||South Dakota State
|9||William & Mary||2517|
|25||North Carolina A&T||395|
Others: Youngstown State (393), Fordham (385), Harvard (294), Eastern Kentucky (189), Southern Utah (162),Eastern Illinois (151), Central Arkansas (136), Duquesne (75), Alcorn State (62), Grambling State (59), Weber State (49), Penn (46), Bethune-Cookman (43), Wofford (43), Dartmouth (37), Western Carolina (36), Liberty (36),Lamar (28), Montana State (26), Delaware (25), South Dakota (17), Maine (14), Dayton (10), North Carolina Central (10), Mercer (10), Prairie View A&M (9), UT Martin (7), Samford (7), South Carolina State (5), Bryant(4), Indiana State (3), Kennesaw State (3), Southeast Missouri State (2), Tennessee State (2), Stony Brook (2),Southern Illinois (1), San Diego (1), Northwestern State (1), Saint Francis U (1)
FCS Coaches Preseason Top 25
||North Dakota State||625|
|2||Sam Houston State||555|
|10||William & Mary||636|
||South Dakota State
|25||North Carolina A&T||79|
Others: Eastern Illinois 70, Eastern Kentucky 70, New Hampshire 60, Towson 56, Bethune-Cookman 51, South Carolina State 49, Youngstown State 40, Dartmouth 37, Montana State 31, Liberty 25, Jackson State, 24, Southeastern Louisiana 17, Southeast Missouri State 17, Monmouth 16, Samford 16, Penn 10, North Carolina Central 8, Alcorn State 8, Stephen F. Austin 5, Duquesne 5, Weber State 5, Dayton 4, San Diego 3, Prairie View A&M 3, South Dakota 3, Grambling State 2, Wofford 2, Bryant 1.
*Bold indicates 2016 opponents