CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa football team downed the No. 1 North Dakota State Bison, 23-3, ending their 33-game winning streak. The Panthers improved to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the MVFC for its second consecutive win over a top-10 opponent.
The UNI defense held the Bison to just 43 yards on the ground after they were averaging 244.4 on the season. The Bison finished the game with only 175 yards of total offense in its first loss since 2012.
Brion Carnes finished the game 7-19-0 for 93 yards, including 43 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. David Johnson led the team in rushing yards with 133, breaking the 1,000-yard mark on the season for the third time in his career.
On defense, the Panthers were led by two players that were injured in the North Dakota State game just one year ago. Jake Farley finished with a team-high nine tackles while Tim Kilfoy grabbed his third pick in two games, swinging the momentum in UNI’s favor in the second quarter.
The defensive line play by the Panthers was exceptional, finishing with a combined 29 tackles out of the 63 total. Xavier Williams and Brett McMakin both finished with seven each, while Mac O’Brien and Isaac Ales added six a piece, with all four players getting a hand in on at least one sack.
The Bison and Panthers played a scoreless first quarter, with North Dakota State only averaging 2.9 yards per rush. UNI kept the Bison at bay, now allowing a single third-down conversion in the quarter.
UNI was able to take a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter to open up scoring in the game after Carnes found the end zone on a six-yard rush. The touchdown ended a four-play, 37-yard drive that took 1:43 off the clock.
Michael Schmadeke gave UNI a 10-point advantage with 13:41 left to play in the third quarter after he converted on a 43-yard field goal. The drive was set up by a fumble recovery by Makinton Dorleant after Isaac Ales knocked the ball loose from Bison running back Darius Anderson.
NDSU escaped with just a field goal with 2:27 on the clock in the third quarter after UNI’s defense put up a strong goalline stand on a third-and-one situation. Adam Keller knocked in a 21-yarder to cut UNI’s lead to 10-3, ending a four-play, nine-yard drive. The Bison were set up for a short field after C.J. Smith returned a punt 30 yards to the 12-yard line.
Schmadeke answered with his second field goal of the game, booting in a 36-yarder just five seconds into the fourth quarter to give UNI a 13-3 lead. The drive burned 2:32 off the clock that went for six plays and 25 yards.
The Waterloo, Iowa native Schmadeke added to his stat line with 9:25 left in the game, hitting a 42-yard field goal to make the score 16-3. The drive lasted 2:37 for seven plays and 35 yards.
Darrian Miller scored the Panthers’ second touchdown of the game after he dashed 30 yards up the middle for a score with 5:04 to play in the fourth quarter. The drive started after another strong defensive stand from UNI, ending after 2:30 for five plays and 46 yards to give UNI a 23-3 lead.
Miller’s touchdown was the last score of the game, sealing UNI’s 23-3 victory over the three-time defending FCS champions.
UNI will return to action Sat., Nov. 15, when they travel to Carbondale, Ill., to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis. The game is set to kick at 2 p.m.