FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- This weekend serves as a homecoming for several on the Bison staff but it is the final trip to Cedar Falls for senior running back Lance Dunn.
A trip he says he is eager to make.
"It's my senior year, last year to really get to play there in front of all these fans and my family and everything so it's a big deal for me. I'm really looking forward to it," Dunn said ahead of Saturday's kickoff with Northern Iowa.
A Waterloo West High School product, Dunn played a lot of high school football inside the UNI-Dome. He helped Wahawks make back-to-back state playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years, setting a school single-game record with 336 all-purpose yards along the way.
He says his memories of high school ball there are a mix of good and bad but he's known nothing but success there as a Bison.
In his last game at UNI he rushed 23 times for 118 yards. That was in the 24-20 win in 2016.
He says he's ready to bring the same high energy back again this year.
"A lot of people know me there," Dunn admitted. "Some people are rooting for me, some people are rooting against me. But I'm just going to go out there and focus on the game and just do what I got to do."
With former teammates and high school rivals on the Panther's roster, Saturday's game is personal for Dunn.
"I feel like I need to show out and show them what I'm capable of."
On an even more personal note, one of those former teammates is also family. Senior UNI linebacker Blake Thomas is Dunn's cousin and Dunn admits the good-nature trash talk is flowing between the two.
"It's going to be a really intense game but it makes me want to play even harder," Dunn said of the multiple personal connections to this match up.
Including, the fact that he missed last year's game against Northern Iowa with a hip injury sustained the week prior. That injury would keep him out until the National Championship game.
So he missed last year's game, he's taking on family and he's back home in Panthers territory.
But home isn't all purple anymore.
"When I go back home to Waterloo there are people that have NDSU gear on that I don't even know but they know me and I don't even know them," said Dunn. "It's cool to see that and to know that we have support everywhere."
The Bison kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on the KVLY and KFYR Bison Football Network. Coverage begins at noon with the Farmers Union Insurance Bison Football Pregame Show.