|09-06-2016, 10:16 AM||#1|
PN's Resident Band Dork
There is a lot of room for debate among fans of UNI athletics as to who the greats of the program really are. I encourage people to post in the comment section below and add to this list, but there are a few names that come to my mind: Kenny Shedd, Kurt Warner, Eric Sanders… then there’s the coaches: Darrell Mudra, Stan Sheriff, and Terry Allen to name a few. It’s about high time UNI fans consider Mark Farley in that pantheon as well.
Mark Farley scored his 130th win on Saturday with a thrilling 25-20 win over Iowa State in Ames. It’s clear to everyone in the program and beyond that Coach Farley loves getting wins over Iowa State as this is the third time he’s done it and the smile on his face was just as wide and sincere as it ever was. More important was the way that the Panthers did it. They came out and played their style of football. They pulled no punches. They didn’t win with trickery and deceit; they won with brawn, brains, and speed.
UNI ran for 232 yards against one of the more athletic Iowa State teams in recent memory. UNI was not intimidated by ISU’s size and athleticism and went right after them from the get go. It’s rare that an FCS team banks on their depth and talent discrepancy to win a game against a Big XII opponent. Everyone knows that the FCS school is supposed to lay down and provide a comfortable win for the big guy, right?
Well that didn’t happen. UNI fans knew they could roll with the punches and come back strong. They dominated time of possession by a ten-minute margin and UNI’s strength in the trenches clearly showed in the 2nd half as the Cyclones looked frustrated and winded against the Panthers. That’s just how Coach Farley would have wanted it, I’m sure.
The story goes on from there. Aaron Bailey finished his 2016 debut with 114 rushing yards and rarely looked flustered as Iowa State blitzed heavily in an attempt to rattle him. UNI’s defense was clearly on point, holding Iowa State to 51 yards rushing and netting three sacks over the course of the game. Simply put: it just didn’t look like your typical FBS-FCS smackdown that everyone expected. Rather, it looked like a proud program proving the rest of the state and even the nation that these Panthers are hungry for a memorable 2016 season.
So let the debate rage: is Mark Farley the greatest coach that UNI has ever had? He has restored Panther Pride among fans, alumni, students, and players. UNI wins with class and wins the right way. Many coaches have come and gone through the years, and Farley has remained steadfast that this is where the center of the FCS college football universe should lie. Wins like this go a long way in proving his point, and there has never been a more appropriate time to give a coach the game ball after a great win.
"Once it starts, it never ends."
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