Rob Weiss, FCS Update
Through 5 games of the season, the Northern Iowa defense is only giving up 7.6 points per game. That includes holding FBS #12 Iowa to 17. The Panther defense is 5th in the country in rushing defense, allowing 65.6 yards per game. This is the challenge that awaits North Dakota State running back Pat Paschall, the number one running back in yards per game in FCS football.
This year’s Panther defense has left off exactly where last year ended, replacing last year’s man in the middle, Everette Pedescleaux, who graduated last spring and is currently with the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Pedescleaux, listed at 6-6 305 lbs, has been replaced by Chuck Kinney and Wes Lane. Both senior leaders are listed at 290 pounds.
But the biggest push on the defensive line comes from James Ruffin, a senior defensive end from Burnsville, MN. Ruffin was highly decorated after his junior season. He was named as a first team all-american by the American Football Coaches Association, Defensive Player of the Year in the Valley, first-team all-MVFC pick , second-team All-America pick by the Associated Press , third-team All-America honoree by The Sports Network. Ruffin finished last season with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
As a unit, the most ground yardage the team has given up this season was against South Dakota. The Coyotes ran for 151 total yards(90 net) on 35 attempts, an average of 4.3 yards per carry. The Coyotes only scored one TD in the game, and that came on a flea-flicker pass.
Their season low was last weekend against Indiana State. The Sycamores ran for 56 yards (42 net) on 25 attempts.
Looking forward to this battle on Saturday. We’ll finish this series with a recap over the weekend. Look forward to a photo gallery of gameday pictures from inside the Fargodome.