GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado's effort Saturday did not surprise Northern Iowa's Mark Farley.
The affect the atmosphere had on the Panthers did.
Playing at 4,658 feet above sea level, UNI had to overcome that obstacle as well as the Bears on the way to a 26-7 win Saturday at Nottingham Field.
Farley knew the Panthers would be playing at a higher altitude. And the players learned about life in thinner air.
Said wide receiver Chad Owens, "You know, we're not really used to it. The first series, I came out and it kind of got to me a little bit, but I felt like the offense and defense has guys who can step up for us."
Owens did, with seven catches, including a 7-yarder from Sawyer Kollmorgen for UNI's first touchdown. Farley, though, noticed the affect of the altitude.
"I think the air got to us a little bit up here," said Farley. "I was surprised. It seemed like we were tired - gassed a little bit at times."
One thing UNI was ready to face - Northern Colorado itself.
The Bears stood toe-to-toe with the Panthers even though starting quarterback Seth Lobato sat out the game with a shoulder injury. His replacement, Tim Tanick threw for 207 yards.
"That was different," said defensive end Collin Albrecht, who made two key sacks of Tanick. "We didn't know what to expect. We didn't have any film on (Tancik). We prepared for the other guy.
"But, after the first couple of series, you start to fall into a rhythm. I think we caugt on to it pretty quick."
Running back Tromaine Dennis contributed a solid 75 yards on the ground. Linebacker Clarence Bumpas made 13 tackles as the UNC defense forced running back David Johnson to work hard for his 121 yards in 22 carries. Johnson had 104 of that total in the final half.
"I think the players were prepared," said Farley.
But the relatively small crowd of 3,025 was another matter, especially when compared to what UNI faced at a filled Jack Trice Stadium in the opener.
"I knew this: I knew the atmosphere would be a setback," said Farley.
"You have to bring your mindset to the game - to play at a high level without energy coming from the crowd."