Fact or Fiction: #17 UNI @ Missouri State

| photo credit: Roland Ferrie (UNI University Relations) |

In this ‘Week 11′ edition of ‘Fact or Fiction’ The guys debate to what degree the UNI defense will shutdown the struggling Missouri State offense, prognosticate how many total yards quarterback Aaron Bailey will be good for, and discuss whether a fast start on Saturday is a must for what’s been deemed a “trap game” against the 1-8 Bears.

Fact-or-FictionThe Panther defense will dominate a hapless Bears team on Saturday — so much so they will not reach the red zone…

J.T. Nutt: FACT

I think the Bears will be shut out, but if they do score it will be a long field goal or a broken play of 40-plus yards.  This will be the best defense the Bears have seen all season.  And this will be the worst offense UNI has seen in a decade — since Indiana State only won one game in two years.  Ironically the Panthers just hung 59 points on a decent Sycamores team last week.  Missouri State is anything but decent.  This is a name your own final score type of game.  The Bears had five first downs for just over 100 yards last week.  No way they improve upon that with this UNI defense coming to town.

Jason ‘Beef’ Groomes: FICTION

I would really like for this to be a fact, but what’s the line from “White Men Can’t Jump” about the sun shining on a dog’s… well, you know?  Considering the Panthers stellar defense hasn’t had a shutout this year, this would appear to be their best shot.  But for the sake of mercy, I’m guessing that the Bears get into the red zone once.  Whether they score or not remains to be seen.


This game does represent the Panthers best opportunity for a shutout, however, while there hasn’t been much to point to as bugaboos for this UNI defense, allowing big plays is something that a critic could point toward. Given that I’m of the thought that the Bears find a way to reach the red zone at least once and come away with at least three points.

Fact-or-FictionQuarterback Aaron Bailey will continue his upward trend of play on Saturday versus Missouri State to the tune of 300-plus all-purpose yards…

J.T. Nutt: FACT  

I’ll go so far as to say he’ll have 300 yards passing.  The running game has been solid to spectular for weeks now.  The passing game has been slowly getting better with each week.  Aaron Bailey is throwing downfield a lot more than Carnes or Rennie ever did.  He is also just a bit off on a lot of those deep balls.  This terrible Bears team is the perfect time to get the deep ball figured out.  The Bears couldn’t find the end zone if it was 11 on 6.  The fact that UNI is so much better than this team will allow them to open up the playbook and try things out in their passing game for the hopeful playoff run.  Besides, if it’s third and eight  I have no doubt that Bailey will go all David Johnson on the Missouri State defense.  He’ll see tougher competition in practice.

Jason ‘Beef’ Groomes: FACT

Missouri State gives up something like 580 yards per game.  With the passing game on the uptick I would hope Aaron Bailey is able to toss the ball for 200 or more.  Throw in a couple of decent read options and/or scrambles, and another 100 on the ground doesn’t seem impossible.  After listening to Coach Farley on his Coach’s Show, he was ready to call off the dogs after one possession in the second half.  Many will hope that this is the case again this weekend, so Bailey might have to do all his damage in two and one-half quarters.

Cole: FACT

If there was FCS fantasy football Aaron Bailey would be a top-tier quarterback to start this Saturday against that putrid Bears defense. I expect the Panthers to continue their emphasis on running the ball after speaking with offensive coordinator Joe Davis this week. But that doesn’t mean Aaron Bailey won’t be able to reach 300 yards of total offense. Like J.T. said, Aaron should be able to do plenty of his David Johnson impression tomorrow, and will likely have multiple opportunities to throw down the field with a playbook that should be more open than it has been all season.

Fact-or-FictionThe Panthers must get off to a fast start in tomorrow’s game to avoid giving the 1-8 Bears enough confidence to pull the upset in what’s considered by some as a “trap game”

J.T. Nutt: FICTION  

I’m not concerned about early points for the Panthers, I want to see yards.  Score 59 against Indiana State, then 59 should be easy against the Bears, right?  That may be true, but last week’s game was a weird one.  It’s not often a team has five touchdowns from their starting quarterback who doesn’t even total 200 yards of offense.  I want to see 500-plus yards out of this UNI offense tomorrow.  I don’t care if they win by 20 or 50.  Give us yards, give us a pulse on offense.  Give us a passing game that looks like UNI football again.  Give us a sign that they can use any number of offensive looks in the future when they face a real football team.

Jason ‘Beef’ Groomes: FACT

Despite the abysmal season Missouri State has had they are still a MVFC team and they have knowledgeable coaches, some of which know the Panthers intimately.  This Bears team has nothing else to play for and it is their Senior Day.  There’s little doubt in my mind the Panthers are going to get the Bears best shot, however good that is.  If the Panthers can get off to a fast start, leading by a couple of touchdowns by early in the second quarter, hopefully it will be smooth sailing from there — and a fourth consecutive victory.


We have seen the offense start slow multiple times this season and it hasn’t by any means meant a loss was inevitable. The Panther defense is good enough that it has been able to bail our their offense when it’s taken them a number of drives to find a rhythm. I’d expect that to continue if Coach Joe Davis’ offense has two or three early three-and-outs tomorrow. Beef makes a good point about the dynamics of it being Senior Day for the Bears, and that their offensive coordinator, Mario Verduzco, knows the Panthers well after spending his previous 14 seasons coaching in Cedar Falls. That said, the Bears just do not have the ammunition to derail the Panthers who will extend their three-game winning streak to four tomorrow afternoon in Springfield.