Panther State: UNI defeats ISU 28-20 in Ames
Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 14:09
The University of Northern Iowa football team has been close before. First it was a one-point loss to Iowa State University in 2011. Then it was two near-wins against the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa last year.
This season, UNI notched its first win against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since 2007 as they beat the ISU 28-20 in Ames. The Panthers (1-0) were led by redshirt junior running back David Johnson’s 199 yards rushing, 41 yards receiving, and 4 total touchdowns. Johnson’s four touchdowns tied UNI’s record for touchdowns in a game.
The Panthers offense set the tone early with a touchdown-scoring drive that took just over two minutes off the clock and was capped off with a 37 yard touchdown run from Johnson.
The Cyclones would put together a quick strike of their own when redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson hit a wide open redshirt senior Justin Coleman on a 59-yard score.
“(Iowa State) got the up-tempo going on us,” said UNI head coach Mark Farley. “They took advantage of it. We were slow to make the adjustment and our eyes dropped.”
Richardson finished the night with 242 yards passing and 2 touchdowns while adding 74 yards on the ground. Coleman was the leading receiver for the Cyclones with 103 yards and a touchdown.
The Panthers would score on their next two possessions – both being Johnson touchdowns. The first came from redshirt sophomore Sawyer Kollmorgen on a nine-yard touchdown pass and the second from a Johnson 27-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers up 21-7 midway through the second quarter. UNI took a 21-14 lead heading into halftime.
Kollmorgen finished the night with 218 passing yards and two touchdowns while completing 21 passes on 28 attempts.
The first turnover of the game was committed by sophomore Evan Williams as he fumbled the ball on the Panther 20-yard line with 5:35 left in the third quarter. The Panther defense kept the Cyclones out of the endzone and held them to a field goal that cut the UNI lead to just one point.
“The turning point was when we fumbled and the crowd came back into it,” said Farley. “If they would have stuck the ball in (the endzone) that place would have erupted.”
UNI bounced back when Johnson found the endzone for his final touchdown of the night to give the Panthers a 28-20 lead with 13:35 remaining in the game.
The most crucial drive for the Panthers started at their own 20-yard line with 5:50 left on the game clock. Johnson recovered his own fumble at the ISU 49 yard line with 3:18 remaining, and the Cyclones were called for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that moved the ball to the ISU 36-yard line. Farley and his staff had to decide to go for the first down on fourth and one from the ISU 26-yard line or let the experienced senior place kicker Tyler Sievertsen attempt the 43-yard field goal with 2:32 left on the clock.
“I was trying to decide that on first, second, and third down,” said Farley. “I knew we were within his range. But man, I was not going to let it get away down here.”
The Panthers decision to go for it proved to be the correct call as Johnson bounced to the outside for a gain of 22 yards.
But the game was not quite over yet. Johnson committed his only mistake of the night as he fumbled the ball at the one-yard line with 1:44 remaining in the game.
“I know I should have had the ball with two hands,” said Johnson. “I was carrying it with one (hand) with one yard to go.”
The Panther defense came through in the clutch and forced the Cyclones into a turnover on downs following the fumble. UNI sacked Richardson six times for an accumulated loss of 36 yards on the night.
The Panthers will play their home opener against the Drake University Bulldogs on Saturday September 7 at 4 p.m.