116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa football’s injury list has grown so large that Coach Mark Farley admitted Monday it’s become overwhelming.
“Hopefully (this year) is an aberration,” Farley said. “It’s been the frustrating part. You’re putting together gameplans and your gameplan is dictated based (on) personnel of who do you have? Hopefully when we get through this and we get that timeline that we normally have (we) can have surgeries, get three months of healing, plus that extra summer lifting.”
After losing Saturday at No. 14 Missouri State the 21st-year head coach pushed back on the FCS’ spring season playing a role in his team’s litany of injuries. However, on Monday he pointed out specific examples of players — Khristian Boyd, Brawntae Wells and Isaiah Weston — who never reached full health for this fall season.
“We’ve got 17 (games) in since February. You’ve got a short timeline there and we had so many guys get nicked up in the spring going down that stretch where we were kind of putting pieces together for the last game and that’s been the hardest part, to be honest with you,” Farley said. “Are there things to think about? Yeah. When the time comes we’ll think about them, but right now it’s a no-excuse business.”
The Panthers’ playoff chances will — at minimum — require a dominant win in this Saturday’s regular season finale against Western Illinois (2-8, 2-5). Along with a win over the Leathernecks, UNI will need some advocates on the FCS playoff committee.
Dig in on UNI’s resume and three wins and one loss stick out.
The wins include a 34-16 result in week two at Sacramento State. Since that loss the Hornets (8-2, 7-0) have gone undefeated in Big Sky Conference play while suffering their only other loss to an FBS team in Cal.
Other notable wins include back-to-back triumphs over then-No. 6 South Dakota State (7-3, 4-3) and at home against then-No. 3 Southern Illinois (7-3, 5-2).
Teams from the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 6-5 records have made the 24-team field before, and as far as 6-5 resumes go, it’d be difficult to find one more formidable than UNI’s.
“As I look at what happened this past Saturday I thought the South Dakota win (against South Dakota State) was a good win for us,” Farley said. “We’re 3-3 against top-15 (teams). What happens on Saturday will make a big difference. We have three great wins, two of them on the road.”