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College Football: Iowa State barely escapes season opener versus UNI, winning 16-10

AMES – The UNI football program opened the season against the Cyclones of Iowa State on Saturday, September 4, falling to seventh-ranked Cyclones 16-10.

The Panthers finished the game with 275 yards of offense, passing for 230 yards and rushing for 45. Quarterback Will McElvain received the start and finished the day by going 21 for 34 with 1 touchdown throw. Wide receiver Quan Hampton caught 8 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown to lead the Panther receiver corps. In a bruising passing effort, the Panthers rushed for 45 yards led by Dom Williams with 12 rushes for 43 yards.

The UNI defensive unit held its on to one of the most prolific offenses in college football. The Panthers held the Cyclones to 335 total yards, holding Iowa State’s Brock Purdy to 199 yards passing. Purdy finished the day completing 21of his 26 pass attempts.

UNI recorded 71 total tackles with 4 tackles for loss. Linebacker Alfonzo Lambert led the Panthers with 8 solo tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Lambert was also credited with a forced fumble. Corners Austin Evans and Omar Brown made their presence felt totaling 17 combined tackles on the day.

1Q: The Panthers opening drive stalled with an opening 3 and out. The Panther defense recorded a forced fumble to push the Cyclones back 8 yards leading to the eventual 3 and out. The Panthers scored first from a 52-yard strike from Will McElvain to Quan Hampton. The Cyclones responded with a 6 play drive and added 3 points with a 35-yard field goal. The Panthers held the ball for 8:43 in the quarter, rushing 7 times for 13 yards and going 6 for 6 in the passing game for 95 yards.

2Q: The Cyclones took the lead with a long drive to open the quarter with Breece Hall punching in a 2-yard touchdown. The Panthers drove 51 yards in 4 minutes and 50 seconds to tie the game with a 41-yard field goal. At the break, the Panthers had 133 total yards of offense with 117 passing yards and 16 rushing yards. Will McElvain went 13-16 with 117 yards and 1 touchdown. Quan Hampton caught a team-high 5 catches for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. The Panther defense held the Cyclones to 169 yards of offense while recording 38 tackles with 1 tackle for loss. The Panthers held the ball for just 5:06, rushing 6 times for 29 yards and going 2 of 4 for 22 yards in the passing game.

3Q: The quarter was highlighted by an Omar Brown forced fumble along the sideline to force a fourth down for the Cyclones. The third quarter was dominated by tough defense. Neither team was able to score and evenly split the time of possession with the Panthers controlling the ball for 7:16 and the Cyclones holding the ball for 7:44. The Panthers rushed 7 times for 19 yards while going 4 of 9 passing for 31 yards.

4Q: In another tightly contested 4th quarter with the Panthers trailing the Cyclones 13-10. After a 6 play 2:28 minute drive the Panthers were forced to punt, beginning the Cyclone 10 play 57-yard drive that resulted in another Cyclone field goal. The Panthers got the ball back with 1:02 remaining in the game trailing by 6. UNI moved 57 yards in 8 plays but was unable to punch it in. The Panthers finished the quarter with 10 yards rushing on 6 attempts while going 9 for 15 passing with 82 yards.

The Cyclone defense did its job, the offense did just enough and the fans packed the stands as No. 7 Iowa State opened the season with a 16-10 victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday at MidAmerican Energy Field at Jack Trice Stadium.

Breece Hall ran for the only touchdown, Connor Assalley kicked two field goals and newcomer Andrew Mevis added one to trigger a successful start to a season of immense promise before a sellout crowd of 61,500 on a perfect afternoon for football.

Mevis, a graduate transfer from Fordham, kicked a 40-yard field goal to break a 10-10 tie as the first half ended. Assalley’s second field goal, a 21-yarder with 6:18 left, stretched the lead to six points and ISU secured the victory with Datrone Young’s interception of a long Will McElvain pass with 2:05 remaining and a defensive stand in the final minute, Mike Rose tackling receiver Sam Schnee on the final play.

Hall scored on a 2-yard run to give Iowa State 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter. It’s 13th straight game the All-American running back has scored at least one rushing touchdown, the longest active streak in college football and the second-longest in Big 12 history.

Northern Iowa, a traditional FCS power, answered with Matthew Cook’s 41-yard field goal to tie it. The Cyclones then drove 52 yards in 10 plays before stalling and calling on Mevis, who delivered his first points as a Cyclone.

The defense took over from there, pitching a shutout in the second half and holding the Panthers to 263 yards in the game — the sixth straight in which Cyclones have given up fewer than 10 points in the second half.

Isheem Young also had an interception for the Cyclones, making a diving grab to stop a UNI drive into Iowa State territory late in the third quarter.

Iowa State finished with 333 yards, including 197 passing by Brock Purdy, who went 21-of-26 with no interceptions for a solid start to his senior season. He also ran nine times for 58 yards, including a 19-yard scramble that was the longest run of the day by either team.

UNI jumped to an early 7-0 when McElvain hooked up with Quan Hampton on a 52-yard touchdown play. Assalley kicked his first field goal, a 35-yarder, three minutes later.

Cyclones of Note
Hall, who often found his running lanes clogged, ground out 69 hard-earned yards in 23 carries.

Jared Rus and freshman Jaylin Noel record the first receptions of their careers. Rus had one catch for 19 yards to start ISU’s final scoring drive. Noel caught two balls for 3 yards.

Rose led the defense with 11 tackles and two quarterback hurries. O’Rien Vance and Will McDonald IV each had a sack and McDonald had two hurries. The sack gave McDonald 18.5 in his career, moving him into a tie with Shawn Moorhead for second on the Cyclones’ all-time list.

Up Next
The Cyclones take on No. 18 Iowa in a CyHawk matchup at MidAmerican Energy Field at Jack Trice Stadium on ABC at 3:30 p.m.

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