Illinois State win has extra meaning for one Panther - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Illinois State win has extra meaning for one Panther


Cedar Falls, Iowa -- Saturday's 31-17 victory over Illinois State was pretty big as it has UNI tied as part of a 4-team logjam on top of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, but for sophomore Panther Tight End Ryan Mahafey, the win met so much more, after having to deal with the passing of his grandmother early in the week.

UNI never trailed in the game on Saturday, and it was fitting that Mahaffey's first career touchdown was the one that put the panthers ahead for good.  And for Ryan Mahaffey it was all for grandma.

"I think she would've been pretty proud of me, and she was always supporting me through playing basketball, and football, and all the sports I was doing, so I knew she was with me here tonight, said Mahaffey, "it's been tough week for me and my family.  I just give all the glory to God, and I know that without him I wouldn't be able to make it through this week.  I just tried to be strong for my family.  I was glad we were able to go out and get this win with all the distractions that were going on, but this one's for you Grandma."

It was also a big game for Quarterback Pat Grace, and his efforts would get him named the Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive player of the week.  On the ground Grace ran for a career high 99 yards including two touchdowns.  He also passed for 238 yards and 2 scores.

This is the second time this season that grace has been named the conference offensive player of the week.

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