College football: “12 minutes” is the difference between the losing Panthers | | football

Northern Iowa’s Christian Boyd wraps around Sacramento State’s Cameron Skatebo as he runs ball at UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday.

CHRIS ZOELLER Courier Staff Photographer

CEDAR FALLS – Thirteen minutes and change – 795 seconds – defines the football season in Northern Iowa through three games.

Last Saturday, the Panthers finished seventh in Sacramento with a score of 27-21 with 10:04 remaining in regulation. The Hornets hired 14 of their own, dashing in eight straight plays and gaining 67 yards. After their lead stalled at UNI 20, Hornets player Kyle Sentkowski cleared 38 yards—his third in the game—to put Sac State 30-21.

However, over the three points, the Hornets burned 6:24 off the clock and left UNI with 3:33 seconds to make one last comeback attempt.

On the Saturday before last, after 29-27, the Panthers let the North Dakota Fighting Falcons burn six minutes off the clock.

A UNI offense – who had just scored a touchdown in one game, a 72-yard run for 11 seconds – was watched from the sidelines while Tommy Schuster, UNI move Tyler Houseman and a UND offense slowed on its way down the field and turned on a pair of third touchdowns.

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The Panthers offense didn’t get a chance to scratch through the green-light grade by following their 72-yard touchdown between Theo Day and Deion McShane.

In that 13 minutes and 15 seconds, UNI saw his record flip from 2-1 to 0-3. A fact UNI coach Mark Farley pointed out to his team during a press conference on Monday.

Fball UNI vs.  Sacramento 10

The Governor of Northern Iowa wraps around Sacramento’s Marcus Fulcher as he runs ball at UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday.

CHRIS ZOELLER Courier Staff Photographer

“We’re 12 minutes away from being 2-1,” Farley said. “You have seven minutes in the fourth quarter and you’re six points behind…You’re two points behind in North Dakota with five minutes to play…You guys are 12 minutes from finishing two games you didn’t play well and running 2-1. So, you on top of the world.”

Loss of tackles, cornering, and a lack of composure at various points in both games against FCS opponents all led to UNI failing to reverse the scenario in their season according to Farley. But, Farley continued, saying that all of their problems would be resolved if those 795 seconds went differently.

“We can make it big or we can narrow it down to the fact that we missed two games by 12 minutes,” Farley said. “It was without playing at the level we expected is what we can.”

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Missed interventions proved most visible in UNI’s struggles during both Sac State and North Dakota’s winning campaigns. A fact shown in the Panthers Run defense that allowed 295.7 yards per game and ranked third to last – 121 in the FCS – through three games.

He eliminated the 582 yards allowed against the Air Force, the largest overall dash offense in the country, and the UNI number improved to just 152.5 yards per game. Despite the significant improvement, it still ranks in the bottom half of the FCS — sandwiched between Prairie View A&M and Incarnate Word’s 63rd overall.

In fact, it paints a picture of the dramatic decline from the Panthers’ defense that has ranked in the top 20 in dash defense and has done well for each of the past three seasons.

Beyond those earlier defenses as the Panthers now show, Farley sees no hopeless change or a symbolic dedication to the practice of Healing as solutions to UNI’s defense-related issues.

“We’re not going out to change a lot of things,” Farley said. “We’re not going to go out and get treated. I’ve heard about these coaches who are going out and dealing all week… I don’t think that’s how you’re going to fix it.”

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According to Farley, leopards will fix their problems with the correct “between the ears” posture and not in the field of training.

“Tell them the facts and they know how to fix it,” Farley said. “If we just go out and try to put some common sense on the wall or we say ‘we need to handle better.’ Well, of course, that’s pretty obvious, but better handling… not training. That’s what you do all week, that’s what we do today. That’s what you’re going to do tonight, your way of thinking determines how you play.”

Farley continued, saying that the physical aspect of the match is not the source of his team’s problems, but rather the mental aspect that caused the suffering of the first three matches.

“The play is just as important as the situation,” Farley said. “Attitude… is that energy that you need to end interfering, end interfering, interfering. This comes from the privileged moment of someone smoking… that’s how you have to play this game.”

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Defenders of Northern Iowa rally Sacramento’s Marshall Martin at UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday.

CHRIS ZOELLER Courier Staff Photographer

Once UNI fixes what’s between the ears it will be the same time they go back to the previous that allowed them to stop opposing running matches for the past three seasons.

“If you don’t play with that attitude, that advantage, you’re not going to get the results you want,” Farley said. “You don’t need to practice. It’s the angle you take, but the stance you finish.”