CEDAR FALLS — The name behind the guy making all the tough decisions is different. The program that has won seven national championships in eight seasons ... not so different.
Coming off a hard-fought 21-14 victory over Youngstown State, No. 10 Northern Iowa will test itself against a third-straight ranked opponent Saturday when the Panthers travel to Fargo to face top-ranked North Dakota State at 1 p.m. in the FargoDome in a Missouri Valley Football Conference game.
The Bison are under the direction of first-year head coach Matt Entz, the Waterloo native who replaced another Waterloo native, Chris Klieman after Klieman left for Kansas State after winning his fourth FCS national title in his five seasons as head coach.
“I don’t know that they look much different,” UNI head coach Mark Farley said. “They are still running the power game. They may call the game a little bit differently, but it is the same sets, the same alignments.
“As a fan, you will see a very similar type of football team.”
Also, like UNI, NDSU has played a strong schedule as the Panthers will be its fourth FCS ranked opponent in a row, and third Top-Ten opponent as the Bison have already beaten No. 4 UC Davis, No. 18 Delaware and No. 10 Illinois State.
The wins over Delaware and Illinois State came on the road.
“The two games that stood out to me were Delaware and Illinois State,” Farley said. “They went to Delaware and did a number on them. They went on the road and the things they did, that is what caught my eye.”
NDSU has won the last five games in the series with UNI’s last win coming in 2014 at home (23-3). The last win for the Panthers in the FargoDome was in 2009 (42-27).
INJURY UPDATES: Farley feels everybody that played in the win against Youngstown State will play against the Bison.
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He added the corner Roosevelt Lawrence, who started the first four games before missing last week with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup.
The news was worse for injured tight ends Briley Moore and Tristan Bohr. Farley said Moore is unlikely to return in the regular season after being injured in the season opener, while Bohr, who replaced Moore in the lineup, will miss the remainder of the season because of a right knee injury.
“We came out okay,” Farley said of injury report. “Unless something comes up, but I saw the report this morning so I don’t foresee any changes unless something happens to practice this week.
“Tristan is out, and Briley as well,” added Farley. “High probability (on Moore missing the remainder of the regular season). It will be weeks before we figure that out. I would say both those two will be done.”
Both Bohr and Moore are candidates to redshirt and play next season as both have played either the maximum or under the maximum allowable games — Bohr (4) and Moore (1) — and still redshirt under new NCAA rules.
RIMA TO REDSHIRT, POSSIBLY TRANSFER: Senior wide receiver Jalen Rima has
“What I said about that is this, everybody deserves to have a great senior year,” Farley said. “I have always felt Jalen Rima was a special player. He is going to redshirt and he entered the transfer portal. So, he now has a choice to do what he wants to do.
“He’s looking to have a great senior year and we support him 100 percent.”
Rima played in UNI’s first four games where he had one catch for seven yards, and had returned two kicks for a 11.5 average. Rima had 36 career catches prior to this season.