From UNI Athletics Media Relations
A day after UNI freshman kicker Matthew Cook was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, he earned FCS STATS Special Teams National Player of the Week honors for his performance in the 3OT loss at No. 21 Iowa State. Saturday, he went 4-4 in field goals, including a make from 50 yards and one from 49 yards.
Cook took over starting kicking duties for veteran kicker Sam Drysdale who is recovering from an injury from spring football. He comes to UNI from right down the road at Cedar Falls High School where he was the starting kicker for the 4A state runner-up Tigers.
The walk-on proved valuable for UNI when he took the field with 12:56 remaining in the third quarter to attempt a 50-yard field goal. The ball carried over the crossbar to tie the game at 3-3. It was the first from that distance for the Panthers since Michael Schmadeke made a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter at home against South Dakota in 2015.
Cook added a 31-yard field goal with 1:44 remaining in the third before hitting a 49-yarder in the first overtime and a 28-yarder in the third overtime.
He is the first FCS National Player of the Week honoree of the season for the Panthers.
The Panthers are back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. with a home opener at the UNI-Dome against Southern Utah. Tickets are available at UNIPanthers.com/tickets or by calling the UNI ticket office at 319-273-4849.