STAFF PICKS 2021: Northern Iowa Panthers

Aug 31, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers offensive lineman Spencer Brown (76) blocks against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Williams, Publisher – Iowa State 38, UNI 7

I hate this game. Iowa State is the 7th freaking ranked team in the country and I’m still not comfortable going into a bout vs. UNI. It’s all out of respect towards Mark Farley and his Panthers. 

However, the longer we’ve gone into the week, the more I’ve understood the massive point spread. The computers rightfully see Iowa State as a top-10 team in the country. That’s incredible. The Panthers are a very good FCS program that always plays well in Ames. But the numbers don’t know that.

I know about two years ago. But so do Mike Rose and Brock Purdy. 
Iowa State won’t KILL UNI. But I do think that the Cyclones will have control of this game for all four quarters. 

Jared Stansbury, Managing Editor – Iowa State 38, UNI 7

The only way I see this game being close to the end is if it is a low-scoring affair. UNI’s offense has to be better than it was during the spring season, but Iowa State’s defense isn’t one I’d want to face while trying to find a rhythm.

I expect this game to be somewhat stressful through the first quarter and part of the second before Iowa State starts to impose its will on the Panthers and pull away in the second half for a comfortable win.

Rob Gray, Senior Writer – Iowa State 31, UNI 10

 Iowa State has won the turnover battle in a season opener just once in Matt Campbell’s first five seasons. Once! I expect that to change Saturday. Offense hums cleanly and efficiently all day. Defense pressures UNI’s quarterback (likely Will McElvain) into some bad decisions and — here’s my bold prediction — senior lockdown corner Anthony Johnson finally snares his first career interception. 

Jeff Woody, Football Analyst – Iowa State 38, UNI 9

Holy nuts, there is excitement about this game. What’s good about that is that people care. What’s bad about that is we (the collective, royal “we”), might be expecting the moon on every play, which is unrealistic. Especially with how this team plays and who they’re playing against because UNI is both talented and motivated. Iowa State, in nearly every game they play, feels out what the other offense is doing early in the game since it’s such a shot in the dark to try and guess how the other team is going to attack you. But after that, ISU shuts the doors, and they shut HARD. UNI’s defense is also good enough to keep ISU off balance for a while as this game is starting. So I legitimately think this game could be close, tied, or even…*gasp* Iowa State could be trailing midway through the first half (no one on the Cyclone sideline will be panicking although some fans maybe). But there is too much firepower, too much talent, and too much maturity on this Cyclone team to let that linger for too long. Towards the end of the first half and into the second half, ISU physically exhausts the Panthers and the game starts to get away. It doesn’t feel close in the second half as the physicality, depth, and talent of the Cyclones take over. Hunter Dekkers throws a touchdown pass to Darien Porter with 6 to play in the 4th to finalize the scoring for this highly anticipated season opener and Ames sells out of beer, just the way things ought to be.

Jay Jordan, Football Analyst – Iowa State 31, UNI 13

Iowa State starts slowly, per usual, but the whip comes out and cracks loudly. The offense beats pressure and produces a couple of big plays, the defense stiffens and ISU wins comfortably.

Bret Meyer, Football Analyst – Iowa State 28, UNI 6

3 is the magic number. The Iowa State defense allowed only three yards per rush last season. UNI averaged only 3 per rush on offense. Cyclone defense stops the run, makes UNI one-dimensional and controls the game. Offensively we may start slow but that won’t last long, Breece gets it going and leads us to victory.

Todd Blythe, Football Analyst – Iowa State 38, UNI 10

Iowa State is deep and talented on both sides of the ball. Breece dominates and Brock is efficient as the offense cruises. On D the Cyclones smother a UNI offense that just kinda stinks. Campbell doesn’t care about the gambling degenerates and lets our stars watch the 4th quarter from the sidelines instead of covering. 

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.