Larry Cotlar, KXNO Radio in Des Moines:
Considering the difficult schedule Iowa State will face this season, there are certain must-win games the Cyclones will face. This is one of them. With all due respect to Mark Farley's UNI squad, a loss to the Panthers would be devastating to the Cyclones. It would set their season on a tailspin from which they might never recover. That is why I fully expect Iowa State to be primed and ready when the Panthers come to town. Northern Iowa should be better than last year's sub-.500 squad, but it won't be a match for the Cyclones. Look for both Austin Flynn and Steve Hicks to make significant contributions and the Cyclone defense to shut down the UNI offense in a 35-13 Iowa State victory.
Steve Deace, KXNO Radio in Des Moines & CN publisher:
Forget the youth on offense…at least this week. Bottom line: UNI has a respectable, Division I-AA program. Iowa State has a respectable Division I-A, Big 12 Conference program. The Cyclones simply have better players and roll, 40-10.
Ron Maly, retired award-winning Des Moines Register sports writer:
Gone are the days when Northern Iowa could sneak – or was it strut? – into
Jack Trice Stadium and go home with a victory over Iowa State. I'll leave those
embarrassing memories to Jim Walden, who paid the ultimate price (he deserved to
get fired, and did) after losing to the Panthers, as well as a whole lot of
other teams, in 1992 and 1994. Dan
McCarney understands the rivalry much better than Walden. He knows the Cyclones are never supposed to lose when the Panthers come calling. McCarney's team walloped Northern Iowa 42-23 in 1996 and 45-0 in 2001. The Panthers will be in over their heads again Saturday when Iowa State exhibits a strong running game and defense in a 49-3 victory.
Zubin Mehenti, TV-5 WOI in Des Moines:
With a go-for-broke, nothing to lose mentality on the part of the visitor – along with the early adjustment for a starting freshman quarterback, running back, and fullback for the Cyclones – I don't see this being a completely lopsided win for Iowa State. Even though there seems to be a huge disparity in talent level in favor of ISU. I think it will be fairly close early, but Iowa State will pull away for a comfortable victory, 24-10.
Keith Murphy, TV-13 WHO in Des Moines:
Several Panther (Iowa?) fans have called SoundOff predicting another UNI upset. This isn't 1992, and these aren't Jim Walden's Cyclones. No way UNI wins this game, even if Dan McCarney starts 22 freshmen. Cyclones win easily, 38-13.
B.J. Schaben, KASI Radio in Ames:
It's a paycheck game, but will Northern Iowa play along and be a good little patsy? Don't count on it. The Panthers boast a lot experience back from a team that two-years ago made it to the Division I-AA semifinals. But on the other side of the ball, the talent ISU has returning isn't Illinois State and the Panthers will figure that out quickly. Northern Iowa will have a good ground game by the end of the season but not on Saturday Night. Austin Flynn will gain some composure part way through the second quarter and the Cyclones will win, 48-10.
John Walters, TV-5 WOI in Des Moines & Voice of the Cyclones
I've witnessed Terry Allen leading his Northern Iowa players in their fight song in the South endzone of Jack Trice Stadium twice, so I don't take anything for granted in this series. UNI has a good group of linebackers and a nice secondary. They also have good skill-position players on offense. However, they're inexperienced up front on both sides of the ball, and that's an area where I think Iowa State will dominate. And a little known fact: Tom Petrie threw five interceptions last time he played in Ames. He's a much better quarterback now, but it would be understandable if he was a bit edgy making his first throw of the night. I say the Cyclones get four touchdowns from their offense, one from their defense and one from special teams. ISU 45, UNI 10.