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UNI Panthers open 2008 at BYU
Northern Iowa’s football team took on a tall challenge to open the 2008 season: The Mountain West Conference’s BYU Cougars.
BYU, which ended the season ranked No. 14 among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools, released its non-conference schedule for next season Monday and will play host to the Panthers Aug. 30.
Northern Iowa athletic director Rick Hartzell said BYU will pay $375,000 to play the Football Championship Subdivision Panthers, who went 12-1 last season and reached the playoff quarterfinals.
“It matched our open date and the price tag was right,”Hartzell said.
Northern Iowa received $300,000 to play Iowa State in 2007 — and won.
Hartzell said the university also talked to LSU, Miami of Florida and Florida State, among other schools, about a possible matchup, but BYU fit best.
“Obviously, theyll be good, but we didn’t think they’d be impossible for us to compete against,” Hartzell said of the Cougars, who will come off an 11-2 season and a Las Vegas Bowl win over UCLA. “That’s why we took the game.”
Hartzell said the school is still looking to fill a Sept. 13, 2008 open date.
Hartzell said Drake will not be on the schedule this season, but Northern Iowa is looking for a similar opponent for the Sept. 13 opening.
The Panthers plan a 12-game regular season in 2008.
The schedule already features BYU and South Dakota as well as nine Gateway Conference games, up from seven because of the addition of South Dakota State and North Dakota State to the league.
Hartzell said BYU has indicated the Aug. 30 game with the Panthers will be televised and should be available for Iowa networks to pick up.
UNI football: Panthers open 2008 at BYU
ROB GRAY • REGISTER STAFF WRITER • January 14, 2008