Northern Iowa adds Drake to 2026 football schedule

By Kevin Kelley -

The Northern Iowa Panthers have added the Drake Bulldogs to their 2026 football schedule, has learned.

A copy of the football game contract with Drake University was obtained from the University of Northern Iowa via a state public records request.

Northern Iowa will host Drake at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2026. The Panthers will pay the Bulldogs a $210,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to the copy of the contract.

The Panthers are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC), while the Bulldogs compete in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League (PFL).

Northern Iowa and Drake first met on the gridiron in 1900 and have played 46 contests overall. In their most recent contest in 2013, the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs 45-14 in Cedar Falls, but the Bulldogs still cling to a narrow lead in the overall series 24-21-1.

Drake is the third scheduled non-conference opponent for Northern Iowa in 2026, which tentatively completes their slate that season. The Panthers are also slated to play road contests at the Iowa State Cyclones to open the season on Sept. 5 and then, two weeks later, at the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sept. 19.

Northern Iowa is the first known non-conference opponent for Drake’s 2026 football schedule.

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