CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. (KCRG) - Game: #18(FCS) Northern Iowa (0-0) at. #21 Iowa State (0-0)
Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CT
Venue: Jack Trice Stadium
Iowa State Tidbits: The Cyclones are 22-6-3 all-time against the Panthers, winning the last meeting 42-24 in 2017. Iowa State is 39-7-3 all-time against Missouri Valley schools.
Iowa State enters their season opener ranked #21 in the nation in the AP preseason poll for the first time since 1978. Iowa State’s current six-game home winning-streak is tied for third-best in the nation. The Cyclones won six games at home last season, tying a school record for most victories at home.
Even with the loss of Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery, the Cyclone offense returns eight starters from last season, including all five starters on the offensive line. Sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy returns after a very successful freshman campaign that saw him take over the final nine games of the season, posting a 7-2 record leading the Cyclones to a scoring average of 30.9 points.
The Cyclone defense looks to pick up right where they left off in 2018 as they held 11 of their opponents below their season scoring average. They led the entire BIG12 conference in scoring defense (22.9). Defensive end JaQuan Bailey needs just one more sack to become Iowa State’s all-time leader with 19. He is currently tied with Shawn Moorehead at 18.5 career sacks.
Head coach Matt Campbell is entering his fourth season with the Cyclones and has won the Big 12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons. His 16 wins from 2017-2018 is tied for the most wins in two consecutive seasons in program history.
UNI Tidbits: The Panthers have won two out of the last four meetings against the Cyclones. The last win was a 25-20 final in 2016.
Head coach Mark Farley has 149 career wins, his next victory would make him just the 10th coach in FCS history to reach 150 FCS wins.
The Panthers will have a new signal-caller after the graduation of three-year starter Eli Dunne. Redshirt freshman Will McElvain has been named the starter after beating out Jacob Keller in fall camp. McElvain owns several school records at Lincoln High School in Des Moines.
Even though McElvain doesn’t have any game experience, he’ll have some experienced weapons around him. The Panthers return their top six receivers from 2018, including Briley Moore, Jaylin James, Deion McShane, Nick Fossey, Trevor Allen and Jalen Rima. Redshirt sophomore receiver Isaiah Weston also returns after missing all of 2018 due to a torn ACL. Weston earned All-American honors in 2017.
The Panthers had the toughest schedule in the FCS in 2018, according to the Massey Ratings. The schedule will be tough once again as UNI faces six teams in the national rankings, including Iowa State (21), Weber State (8), North Dakota State (1), Illinois State (15), Indiana State (16) and South Dakota State (3).