Football

STAFF PICKS: UNI Panthers

Sep 15, 2018; Iowa City, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers quarterback Eli Dunne (14) in action during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium
TV: FS1
Spread: -18.5 Iowa State

Chris Williams, Publisher – Iowa State 30, UNI 10

Every ounce of me thinks that UNI will find a way to cover but the problem is, in just about every way I play this game out I find the Panthers having a tough time scoring on Iowa State’s elite defense. The key to an ISU cover is not turning the ball over and giving UNI a short field. Iowa State has been very good at this in recent years but David Montgomery never fumbled  …. UNI’s stunts and pre-snap movement will give Iowa State’s offense a challenge but in the end, the 21st ranked Cyclones will be too much.

Jared Stansbury, Staff Writer – Iowa State 38, UNI 13

I have a hard time believing Northern Iowa will be able to gain much traction against the Iowa State defense. The Cyclones’ offense gets off to a relatively slow start but blows things open early in the third quarter before coasting to a comfortable win.

Brent Blum, Contributor – Iowa State 30, UNI 14

I expect a pretty workmanlike effort from the Cyclones in game one. Generally, game one is a bit sloppy and UNI does have some experience returning as well. I don’t see this getting completely out-of-hand, but won’t be a question in the fourth quarter either.

Rob Gray, Senior Writer – Iowa State 42, UNI 13
ISU’s defense is now elite until proven otherwise. The offense? Prove it, right?
With all that in mind, I expect a dominant performance Saturday. UNI’s offense will struggle and the Cyclones will provide at least some proof that their offense could be special in 2019.
Jay Jordan, Football Analyst – Iowa State 41, UNI 6

The offense has an identity to build and needs to answer some questions and develop some playmakers.  UNI may look tougher than they are in the opening stanza.  That won’t be the case for UNI’s offense which will face a seasoned defense for ISU. The ISU offensive line will show improved run blocking and ISU’s receiving corp is too much for UNI to handle consistently. Meanwhile, UNI struggles to move the ball in any meaningful way.

Jeff Woody, Football Analyst – Iowa State 34, UNI 10

NEW YEAR NEW ME. Let’s settle expectations here. Despite this Cyclone offense returning a BUNCH of talent, they haven’t really played together in a while against someone else. And UNI returns 8 starters on an always good defense, so it is going to take a bit– in my opinion– for this offense to come together. Don’t panic. It will end up comfortable. Specifically, because the ISU defense has an immense advantage on the UNI offense. 1) Because this defense is REAL. I am a big hometown guy, so I am really rooting for success for a kid from Lincoln High School. But 2) the fact that this is a really, really good defense that is really, really hard to read in an environment that is going to be really, really hyped up…and UNI is trotting out a kid for his first start ever. That is a recipe for disaster. Even if he’s great for 99%, if you mess up for 5 plays throughout the game, that can turn into sack-fumble, pick, pick, sack, safety.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Contributor – Iowa State 38, UNI 13

Mainly thanks to an experienced defense that is now full of Big 12 caliber athletes, the days of disappointing results against UNI should be in the past. I don’t think the Clones will put up a 50 burger in this game, but I do expect a comfortable margin of victory even if the coaches keep things pretty vanilla scheme-wise in the first outing of the season.

Kirk Haaland, Stats Nerd – Iowa State 31, UNI 13

Given the expected kinks to work out in week one, Northern Iowa always being solid and feisty in these games, and the apparent unwillingness from Campbell to pour it on when the Cyclones do have a major advantage, I expect this game to be closer than we’d like but in totality a victory that is never really in doubt. Their freshman quarterback will have questions but his ability with his feet would seemingly give him an opportunity to break a couple of big plays.

Jared Stansbury

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Jared is in his sixth year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He's the site's lead reporter for ISU recruiting. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as the full-time staff writer in May 2016. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.