116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — After its overtime loss at Illinois State Saturday shattered hopes of a top-8 seed and first round bye in the FCS playoffs, Northern Iowa football coach Mark Farley isn’t putting himself or his team into “playoff mode” just yet.
“Quick answer would be yes, but I’m also telling you this is the Missouri Valley Football Conference and 10 teams got beat in the Top 25 last week,” Farley said Monday during his weekly news conference. “And everybody got beat below us except for Missouri State, South Dakota and Sacramento State.
“In this league, there’s been teams that have (finished) this league at 6-5 that have gotten in (the playoffs).”
The No. 20 Panthers, as Farley pointed out, have the benefit of playing in the MVFC — the FCS’ strongest league. Along with that, UNI has notable wins at (then-No. 6) South Dakota State (7-2, 4-2) and at home against (then-No. 3) Southern Illinois (6-3, 4-2).
Elsewhere on its resume, UNI’s Week 2 win at Sacramento State has proved to be a resume booster. The Hornets are 7-2 and sit in first place in the Big Sky Conference at 6-0.
“(Sacramento) State was a huge win, because they’re still winning,” Farley said. “(The MVFC) is stronger than some of those mid-major (conferences) right now. All we need to do is just focus on our league.”
Headed to No. 13 Missouri State (6-3, 5-2) this Saturday, there’s plenty for the Panthers to clean up.
Saturday’s loss to the Redbirds included a woeful 2.5 yards per carry average as UNI’s three ball carriers — Bradrick Shaw, Dom Williams and Tyler Hoosman — gained just 79 yards on 31 attempts.
“There will be corrections, for sure, because we did not win the line of scrimmage on offense. That was the difference in the game,” Farley said.
The Panthers cost themselves points on multiple drives in the first half because of preventable penalties.
“When I say discipline error, there were things that you can control,” Farley said. “Where you line up — if you’re on the ball (or) off the ball. Whether you’re finishing a play — that type of stuff. The timing of our penalties have been unfortunate and we do have control of that, particularly when we’re on offense.”
Farley indicated wide receiver Quan Hampton (lower body) and defensive back Omar Brown (undisclosed) remain doubtful this week.