CEDAR FALLS — When a team gets handled, it never feels good for that team.
Northern Iowa was a hurting team Sunday and Monday after its 46-14 loss at top-ranked North Dakota State.
Panther head coach Mark Farley had this message to the team upon its return home.
“It is never as bad as you think it is and it is never as good as you think it is,” Farley said Monday at his weekly press conference.
With a home date with a red-hot South Dakota, winners of three straight, Saturday at 4 p.m. inside the UNI-Dome, Farley says the Panthers (3-3 overall, 1-1 in Missouri Valley Football Conference), who dropped to No. 14 in the latest FCS Stats Poll, will take a deep look at themselves. But he added the Panthers only need little fixes, not drastic changes.
“It is getting back to fundamentals and trust what we know works,” Farley added. “You don’t have to make marquee changes here. The changes that have to be made are more the ability to see what happened and not react and do something extreme.”
While the defense has was critical of itself about giving up 347 rushing yards (for the game) and three rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to NDSU, Farley says its got to remember when it is technically strong and performs to its abilities that it has played some very good football already this season.
Prior to the Bison running up and down the field on them, UNI had allowed its three previous opponents 69. 66 and 55 rushing yards.
“Understand why it happened, and correct that technique or coverage ... whatever,” Farley said. “You know me, I hate to give up more than 20 points on defense, period. If you give up 25, you have given up too many.
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“(Got to) try to figure out how to take what we have and No. 1, make the corrections in technique, but No. 2 make the corrections in scheme to play to the strength we are playing right now.”
INJURY UPDATE: The only significant injury suffered in the loss to the Bison was to back-up running back Alphonso Soko.
Farley said Soko most likely will miss the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury. Soko was injured on a nine-yard, first-down run midway through the third quarter that moved the Panthers to the NDSU 25.
He was seen grimacing on the sidelines after the play.
‘That is a little bit of a guess, but I’m sure enough to say it,” Farley said of Soko. “The rest have a chance to come back this week, but my guess is he might be done.”
Additionally, Farley listed senior running back and leading rusher Trevor Allen as in the questionable/probable category for Saturday’s game at home against South Dakota.
“As I sit here right now I’m expecting him to play knowing Trevor, but I can’t say he will because he is that (questionable category), but we will see what happens when we get back on that field Tuesday,” Farley said.
PROTECTING HOME FIELD: UNI has won its first three home games this season and the Panthers have not won their first four home games since the 2011 squad went a perfect 6-0 inside the UNI-Dome.
UNI is 216-56-1 all-time inside the Dome.
LOCAL COYOTES: Four players from the area are among the 25 native Iowans on South Dakota’s roster.
Cedar Falls native Dalton Godfrey is in his second season as the Coyote’s long-snapper while Waterloo West graduates Devon Moore, a quarterback, and linebacker Sam Gerst are on the team as well as Dike native Colton Harberts, an offensive lineman.