116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — For the first time in a month Northern Iowa football coach Mark Farley went to the podium Monday to look back on a loss.
After three straight wins, with a bye week in between, No. 17 UNI (3-2, 1-1) committed too many mistakes against North Dakota State (5-0, 2-0) last Saturday to give itself a chance for an upset.
“Our penalties were a big part of getting beat,” Farley said. “The difference in the game (though) was the (41-yard) punt return after the penalties.”
While nine penalties and special-teams mistakes were frustrating, Farley doesn’t expect them to become recurring issues. Rather, he pointed out the Fargodome’s raucous environment offering teams the biggest stress test of any venue in the FCS.
Moving forward, though, he remains encouraged with quarterback Theo Day.
Day, who threw for 257 yards and a touchdown in the loss, also ran for 60 yards.
“(Theo) stepped up in the pocket (nicely),” Farley said. “That’s what he brings to the game is his ability to throw the football, his ability to get you the first down if he’s got to run for it.”
Day wasn’t the only quarterback Farley spoke about Monday.
Two-year starter Will McElvain announced on Twitter Monday morning that he’s entered the transfer portal.
McElvain, who made 22 starts between 2019 and 2021 after walking on in 2018, was benched after the first half of UNI’s Week 2 game at Sacramento State. Day’s play since has cemented the Michigan State transfer atop the depth chart.
“Will has been great for us,” Farley said. “At any position right now the transfer portal is going to come up all the time. The No. 1 position in the transfer portal is the quarterback, because there’s only one of them and you only have so much time to play college football. So, you understand (his) reasoning behind it. We wish Will the best. We’ll help Will anyway we can because Will helped our program.”
Another ranked Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent awaits this week. No. 21 South Dakota (4-2, 2-1) is coming off a 20-13 win vs. No. 22 North Dakota and the Coyotes have allowed just 15.3 points per game this season.
“They changed the philosophy of their defense last spring and now they’ve had more time to work within it,” Farley said. “It’s got more things to it because they changed coordinators. It’s not a three-man front, but it’s a very multiple front, let’s put it that way.”
Wide receiver Logan Wolf (hamstring), defensive lineman Khristian Boyd (undisclosed) and offensive lineman Matthew Vanderslice (undisclosed) are questionable for Saturday’s game. Tight end Jayden Scott (lower body) and wide receiver Tysen Kershaw (undisclosed) remain doubtful.