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Old 10-05-2016, 12:36 PM   #1
Marc Wigim
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Default ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

Growing Pains

After the initial thrill of a victory over Iowa State wore off, this team faced many familiar challenges in the coming weeks. The excitement for an opponent such as Montana was palpable for those who knew about the workings of FCS. There were over 13,000 fans in the Dome even though Iowa and Iowa State would be kicking off soon. Unfortunately what followed was a repeat of some of the challenges this team has had to face in seasonsí past.

I have been a fan of UNI football since 2001, and I canít say Iím surprised by much anymore. I was there in 2003 when UNI came back from a 28-7 halftime deficit to beat Southern Illinois 43-40 for the Gateway Conference Title. I watched in agony in 2005 when the Cats played Texas State and won on the famous Matt Tharp interception. I was also present for the heartbreak of the game that followed.

Iíve seen this team at the highest highs and the lowest lows. So this season is a reminder that things can quickly change from one week to the next. One week youíre beating a Big XII opponent on the road, and two weeks later youíre losing on a bold fake field goal. Those are the breaks, and Montana and Eastern Washington deserve all the credit. They have made the Big Sky a formidable conference again. Montana does it through brilliant game planning and unrelenting pressure. Eastern Washington does it by forcing you into uncomfortable territory tempo-wise. Both strategies worked against the Panthers, and in both games they just couldnít recover.

That brings us to this weekís game against Southern Illinois for Homecoming 2016. 13,710 loyal fans showed up and the atmosphere outside the game was one of revelry. The grass lots were full of radios and bags players. Everyone seemed to sense good things on the horizon for the Panthers. The smiles on everyoneís faces reminded me of why I came here for football games long after Iíd left as a student.

There were issues that reminded me of why the Dome desperately needed an upgrade. The long lines and crowded concourses are both a curse and a blessing. On one hand, people are showing up to games and cheering for the Cats. On the other hand, the overcrowded concourses and long lines for bathrooms can make for a few problems. It also might mean increased security for when the kinds of issues that arise from keeping tens of thousands of people in an enclosed space.

That being said, there were plenty of things to keep you coming back. The Panther Marching Bandís performance was top notch as always, featuring a very exciting LED light show. I could be biased thoughÖ they did play music from Daft Punk, one of my favorite musical groups. The student turnout was the stuff of legend, as I watched them spill into general admission and cheer their lungs out for a team that was clearly ready to play.

The Panthers forced their will on the Salukis from the start, controlling the line of scrimmage and getting key runs from Aaron Bailey and Tyvis Smith. Aside from a few big passing plays by Southern Illinois, they were largely unable to move the ball against a stout Panther defense. The Salukis were held to only 70 yards on the ground, whereas UNI racked up 238. It was the kind of win that Coach Farley could be proud of.

So with all the great things happening at the Dome, I say I will see you on Saturday October 8th for the watch party. Look for a tall guy with a beard in a UNI sweatshirt and a voice recorder and maybe Iíll ask you what keeps you coming back, as I am very interested in what others have to say on the subject. Iím thinking that might be this yearís overall theme since I have spent a lot of time loving the Panthers, but never asking myself why.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

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Growing Pains

There were issues that reminded me of why the Dome desperately needed an upgrade.
Excellent post, Marc. I hope you have lots of good interaction with fans in the Dome this Saturday for the USD viewing.

Can someone, anyone, post any kind of evidence that AD Harris is laying the groundwork for a Dome upgrade -- specifically, expanded entrances with concession and restroom facilities, and new seating for the stands?

I hear the rumors about a new basketball practice facility, which is fine (!), but if rumors exist re: the Dome, I've missed them.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

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Excellent post, Marc. I hope you have lots of good interaction with fans in the Dome this Saturday for the USD viewing.

Can someone, anyone, post any kind of evidence that AD Harris is laying the groundwork for a Dome upgrade -- specifically, expanded entrances with concession and restroom facilities, and new seating for the stands?

I hear the rumors about a new basketball practice facility, which is fine (!), but if rumors exist re: the Dome, I've missed them.
We REALLY need purple colored seats.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

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We REALLY need purple colored seats.
Write a check. Lowest bid they could find was $750,000.

With all of our facility needs, this has to be about last on the list.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:26 PM   #5
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Write a check. Lowest bid they could find was $750,000.
Seems like that's just a reasonable portion of an $X or $XX million dome upgrade.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:37 PM   #6
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Seems like that's just a reasonable portion of an $X or $XX million dome upgrade.
Oh I agree, but that is so far down the list of things that need to be a priority.

I think we need to know how realignment really falls and what level of football we're ultimately going to be playing at before we can truly decide what the Dome needs. Are we going to more of a Group of 5 model (more expense, more needs, more seating) or more of a Division II model (same expense, fewer needs, less seating)??
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:52 PM   #7
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I think we need to know how realignment really falls and what level of football we're ultimately going to be playing at before we can truly decide what the Dome needs.
That's good big-picture logic. I don't disagree. But how many years are we from knowing what we don't now know?

UNI is fortunate to have had *many* millions of dollars invested in refurbishing its academic buildings, dormitories, and grounds over the past two decades. I'm all for that. I'm also for giving the Dome a badly needed shot of adrenaline.
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

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That's good big-picture logic. I don't disagree. But how many years are we from knowing what we don't now know?

UNI is fortunate to have had *many* millions of dollars invested in refurbishing its academic buildings, dormitories, and grounds over the past two decades. I'm all for that. I'm also for giving the Dome a badly needed shot of adrenaline.
We're in total agreement.

My vote is go big and make the G5 take you, but if that invite doesn't come it gets tough to pay those bonds...
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:34 PM   #9
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We REALLY need purple colored seats.

I agree. Seriously. The cardinal red seats in the new south end zone at Jack Trice Stadium really help mask the fact that tons of fair-weather fans have those tickets. I hate to think what it would look like with a bunch of green or various- colored seats, both in person and on TV.
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: ***ARTICLE*** Growing Pains

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Originally Posted by English77 View Post
Excellent post, Marc. I hope you have lots of good interaction with fans in the Dome this Saturday for the USD viewing.

Can someone, anyone, post any kind of evidence that AD Harris is laying the groundwork for a Dome upgrade -- specifically, expanded entrances with concession and restroom facilities, and new seating for the stands?

I hear the rumors about a new basketball practice facility, which is fine (!), but if rumors exist re: the Dome, I've missed them.
I've heard a lot of rumors, but haven't seen evidence.
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