UNI Panthers

UNI at James Madison preview: Time, TV, live stream, line, prediction for FCS quarterfinal game

Panthers and Dukes meet for first time

UNI Panthers vs. James Madison Dukes
UNI Panthers vs. James Madison Dukes

CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa’s 13-10 revenge win at South Dakota State last Saturday set up a first-time meeting with FCS powerhouse James Madison (12-1) in a playoff quarterfinal Friday night.

The Dukes are coming off a 66-21 win over Monmouth (11-3) in the second round and enter Friday’s game as a heavy favorite.

JMU plays at Bridgeforth Stadium and is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, which it has won four of the past five seasons.

 

Here are three things to watch for in tonight’s game.

1. James Madison has a financial advantage

James Madison is not only among the FCS’ elite in terms of its won-loss success, but also its financial strength.

The Dukes’ 2018 football budget was $11.8 million while UNI’s entire athletics budget in the same year was $14.4 million. JMU’s financial strength allows it to provide the full allotment of 63 scholarships, something many FCS teams — including UNI — are unable to do.

“They’re much like a Power Five school — much like a BCS school as far as what they have and the type of players,” UNI Coach Mark Farley said. “Not just a handful of (players), they’ve got a two-deep full of them. So, very strong football team (and) very strong program.”

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2. The lines on both sides are even more important

The battle at the line of scrimmage could be mentioned as a key part of any football game, but there’s no question of its importance for UNI on Friday. The Dukes average 255.7 rushing yards per game and their defense ranks eighth in the country with 41 sacks.

Meanwhile UNI’s defense has only one less sack than JMU’s and its offense has shown how much more productive it is with a competent run game.

3. UNI has injury concerns

Another week of football means another week of monitoring UNI’s injuries.

UNI’s questionables include receivers Isaiah Weston (concussion) and Deion McShane (undisclosed), tight end Briley Moore (shoulder), running back Tyler Hoosman (ankle) and linebacker Chris Kolarevic (lower body).

Hoosman and McShane warmed up in pads before last week’s win at South Dakota State and appear to be the most likely to play Friday. Weston and Moore’s chances seem much more slim.

Hoosman’s return should add a much-needed boost to the Panthers’ run game that’s been carried by Trevor Allen the past two weeks, and McShane could potentially replace some of Weston’s ability to take the top off the opposing defense.

UNI at James Madison: FCS quarterfinals

Time: 6 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN2

Watch online: WatchESPN

Radio: KGYM-AM 1600

Listen online: TuneIn

Follow: @realcolebair

Line: James Madison -20

James Madison 20, UNI 10

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With a forecast of 30-degree weather and freezing rain, UNI’s defense will make life difficult on the dynamic JMU offense, but homefield advantage on a short week will prove too much for the Panthers to overcome.

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