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College Football: UNI ousted from playoffs by James Madison, 17-0

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The UNI Panther offense did what it has done all year long, stand tall in their own territory, create turnovers and cause havoc in the defensive backfield, but the Panther offense couldn’t find a rhythm and the Panthers fell to James Madison 17-0 Friday night in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Panther defense held the Dukes to 27.1 points below their season average and to their lowest point total since only scoring 13 points against West Virginia in the season opener.

The Dukes scored late in the first quarter, added a field goal in the second quarter, and led 10-0 at the half.

The Panthers held JMU out of the end zone until the final minutes of the game when UNI turned the ball over on downs on the one-yard line in a last-ditch effort at the end of the game. The Dukes scored on the ensuing play to fix the final margin of victory.

The loss caps a season that saw UNI outpace any expectation, despite being decimated by injuries on the offensive side of the ball. The Panthers faced a brutal schedule, including road games against three of the other seven teams in the FCS quarterfinals and a road game against a ranked power-five team.

UNI was picked to finish fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and persevered to finish alone in the second spot in the MVFC and among the top-8 teams in the nation.

The Panthers return eight starters on offense, eight starters on defense and return Preseason All-American Briley Moore who was injured in the first game and Korby Sander who missed the entire season but was second on the team in tackles in 2019.

Of UNI’s 12 MVFC All-Conference selections, nine return next season.

–    The Panthers were shut out for the first time in the playoffs since falling 38-0 to Montana in the semifinals in 2001.
–    UNI was shut out for the first time since a 27-0 loss against Iowa State in 2010.
–    The punt by JMU on their first drive was the first for the Dukes in the 2019 FCS Playoffs.
–    Spencer Cuvelier recorded a career-high 21 tackles.
–    Bryce Flater recorded a career-high 22 tackles.
–    Cuvelier and Flater both move into the single-game top-10 for tackles for the game. Flater is now tied for fourth all-time for tackles in a game and Cuvelier is tied for seventh.
–    Brock Hadachek recorded his first-career reception. The catch went for 10 yards.
–    The Panthers ended the season 10-5. It is the first 10-win season since 2011 and the first trip to the quarterfinals since 2015.

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