Panthers @ Coyotes – Northern Iowan

The UNI soccer team will finish its regular season in Vermillion, SD this weekend when it takes on the University of South Dakota Coyotes. UNI bids farewell to its bye week after a heartbreaking loss to South Dakota State and will look to end the regular season on a high.

South Dakota was victorious in that matchup last year, beating the Panthers 34-21. It was the second half before UNI got on the scoreboard where they scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives. The first came from a 62-yard rush by Vance McShane, followed by a 28-yard passing score for Sam Snow. Another 20-yard passing touchdown on the Panthers’ final drive made up the rest of their 21 points.

This was Theo Day’s first 300-yard game of his career and his only of the 2021 season, throwing for 303 yards. McShane led the team with 65 yards while Quan Hampton led receiving with nine receptions for 108 yards. The Panthers’ defense totaled three sacks and also forced a fumble in the loss.

UNI’s last game was a narrow loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. SDSU secured the win with a last-second field goal to win 31-28. Day accounted for three of the Panthers’ four touchdowns that game, two through the air and one on the ground. He will try to continue his dominant streak of play this weekend.

In the last four games for the Panthers, in which they have a 3-1 record, Day has averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game while averaging 13 touchdowns, 11 passing and two rushing, with a 5.5: 1 touchdown to interception rate at 64% completion. The UNI offensive averages 37.5 points per game, while the defense only allows 25.3 points per game. Overall, UNI is 46 points ahead of their opponents on this route.

Meanwhile, UNI’s opponents, the Coyotes, suffered their seventh loss of the season in a game against North Dakota, where the team gave up almost 350 yards of offense. South Dakota quarterback Aidan Bouman threw 151 yards and three touchdowns in the 28-19 loss. Second receiver Carter Bell took two of the points while junior Wesley Eliodor took the third. Travis Theis also led the Coyotes with 95 yards on the ground.

South Dakota’s offense is averaging just 16.5 points per game this season, making it the second-worst in the conference. This should bode well for the Panthers, who rank fourth in MVFC with over 30 points per game.

Several personal milestones were achieved this weekend. With just 251 passing yards, Day would become the first Panther to pass 3,000 yards in over 15 years. He has already had the third most rushing yards in the last 16 seasons with 2,741. With just one more PAT made, kicker Matthew Cook would only move up to second place for consecutive PATs records in the MVFC.

Despite losing the matchup last season, UNI have still won three of their last four games and seven of their last 10, including the last game played at Vermillion in 2018. With that in mind, the Panthers will look to end their season with a win and finish with a 6-5 winning record. Kick-off is on Saturday, November 19 at 1 p.m. The game will also be available to stream on ESPN+.