No Rima Reason – UNI at the DakotaDome

It might feel more like going into the lions den this Saturday when UNI plays in the DakotaDome in Vermillion, South Dakota against the USD Coyotes. Why? Let me count the ways:

1) The game is sold out. It is South Dakota’s homecoming game. Okay, their Dakota Days game. But that is just the Coyotes way of saying ‘homecoming’ game!

2) The Dakota Dome holds just over 10,000 fans – and with it being sold out and full of howling Coyote fans it will be a much tougher atmosphere than what UNI played in last week in a 20-19 lose before a few thousand fans at Indiana State.

3) South Dakota Head Coach Joe Glenn and his staff went out and raised $57,000 to purchase all new uniforms and helmets for their homecoming game against UNI. Their helmets reportedly will have a chrome look. They also purchased football gloves that have “South Dakota” stitched on them. Bet on the Coyotes and their fans being all “krunked” up in their new unis.SouthDakotafb dome

4) South Dakota gets their starting quarterback back for this game. Junior signal caller Kevin Earl broke his thumb in their season opening loss at Oregon. Earl led the unbelievable come from behind win in the UNI Dome last year when the Panthers led USD 28-7 late in the third quarter. But the Coyotes got the game tied in the closing seconds at 28 all and won in double overtime 38-31. Earl threw for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for the game winner in double overtime.

5) There are a lot of former Iowa high school football players on the South Dakota roster and in their starting lineup. Their starting left tackle, left guard and center are all from Iowa. Also, their top running back Trevor Bouma is back. Bouma rushed for 149 yards last year against the UNI defense. When UNI’s former Iowa high school guys play against Iowa or Iowa State they seem to play with that chip on their shoulder. And we saw that out of the Iowa guys who played for USD last year as if to say, ‘I will show you that you should have recruited or signed me.’

This is a very important game for the Panthers and their hopes and dreams of having enough wins to get back to the playoffs.unifb team pic I think an 8-4 record or better gets UNI in the playoff field without a doubt. So if the Panthers wouldn’t win at USD this weekend they could still finish 8-4. But that would mean the Panthers would have run the table against the likes of NDSU, Illinois State and South Dakota State at home, and on the road at Southern Illinois.

Being a realist one would have to say if UNI loses to Indiana State and South Dakota how do you expect to win out in your final six conference games? It could be done. Anything can happen! But getting a win over the Coyotes gives you a little breathing room. It takes the pressure off of having to win your final six games against what appears, on paper anyway, to be some of the toughest teams in the MVFC.