Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
UNI's Big Task: Slowing Down Montee Ball
By Jake Bemis, Reporter
CEDAR FALLS Carlos Anderson is proud of his "guys."
The University of Northern Iowa open its football season today against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium and "nobody's too nervous about this game."
The game features new quarterbacks for each team. The Panthers will start red-shirt freshman Sawyer Kollmorgen and the Badgers will play another ACC transfer in former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien.
The key for UNI will be trying to stop Wisconsin's one-two punch of Montee Ball, who led the nation in rushing last year with 1,923 yards, and 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year James White.
The Panthers have seven new starters on defense.
"If anything's been a pleasant surprise in camp, it's been the defensive line," UNI Coach Mark Farley said. "I think our defensive tackles, those guys have done a nice job."
Farley also said maintaining a high time of possession will help keep the Badgers' high-scoring offense off the field.
"A lot has to do with how we can play on first-and-10, and how well we do on offense to be able to keep our defense off the field," he said. "That's the style of football game we're in right now."
The last time a ranked FBS team lost to an FCS opponent was in 2007, when fifth-rated Michigan fell to Appalachian State.
"That's a game that's stuck in everyone's mind," Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema said in his weekly news conference. "When we laid out the schedule to our guys that was definitely something that was brought up."