CEDAR FALLS – University of Northern Iowa defensive back J.J. Swain didn’t expect a 1-4 start to his senior season, but it’s not a reason to give up on the football season quite yet.
“We knew going into the season that our first five games were going to be tough,” Swain said. “But we haven’t prepared any differently. There’s nothing that we as players have done differently at practice. We need to find a way as seniors to find a way to motivate guys.”
“No one is down. We’re not blaming anybody. Everyone has had a pretty positive attitude still. Guys are working hard. Our captains have taken a great leadership.”
The Panther defense is eighth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in scoring defense, a downfall from finishing 12th in the nation last season. UNI has given up 128 points in four games, not including its shutout over Central State University.
“You can put that on the secondary. We are the oldest group on the field right now. We don’t have a lot of turnovers this year. That’s been a reason why we’re not getting the ball back, and we have to tackle better as a whole defense,” Swain said.
UNI faces Southern Illinois University Saturday for SIU’s homecoming, a week after the Saluki’s ruined Illinois State University’s homecoming with a 17-0 upset.
“(SIU) has had a lot of positive things happen to them in the past week or so, and they’re going to be feeding off of that. At the same time, we know we can’t lose any more games at all, so it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Swain said.