SACRAMENTO, CA – The (#21) Panther football team took on the (RV) Hornets of Sacramento State on Saturday night, kickoff at 8:00 pm CT. The Panthers dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Hornets 27-0 to lead to the eventual 34-16 victory.
The Panther defense came up with big plays all game long, putting the Panther offense in great field position. The defensive unit forced 5 total Sacramento State turnovers with 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles, UNI also picked up a loose ball on a quarterback scramble.
Spencer Cuvelier led the Panthers with 15 total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss and 2 fumble recoveries. Korby Sander, Benny Sapp III, and Omar Brown each finished with an interception. Caden Houghtelling recorded 2 of the Panther’s 3 sacks.
Offensively quarterback Theo Day finished with a team-high 120 yards and 2 touchdowns and a 206.2 quarterback rating. Isaiah Weston grabbed 3 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown while Quan Hampton added 2 catches for 21 yards and 1 touchdown. The Panther rushing attack excelled with 219 total yards on the ground. Dom Williams finished with 16 carries for 97 yards while Vance McShane added 10 rushes for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Q1: The Panthers made the first big play of the game when Spencer Cuvelier came up with a fumble recovery on the Sacramento State 23 yard line. The Panthers would punch it in for 6 with a 13 yard run from Vance McShane. The defense made another big play in the final minutes of the quarter when Benny Sapp III intercepted a pass from Asher O’Hara. The Panther offense finished with 10 rushes for 56 yards with Will McElvain going 2 for 5 in the passing game. Linebackers Spencer Cuvelier and Alfonzo Lambert combined for 9 total tackles.
Q2: The Panthers opened the second quarter with a fumble on a Will McElvain scramble that led to the Hornets taking over on the Sacramento State 28 yard line. The Hornets would go 64 yards in 16 plays and kick their second field goal of the game to get within one at 7-6. UNI then drove 57 yards but missed a 38-yard field goal. With just seconds remaining in the half the Hornets made their third field goal to lead the Panthers 9-1 at the break. Through two quarters the Panthers totaled 144 yards rushing but tallied only 7 total receiving yards in the half.
Q3: UNI made a QB change at half, putting in Theo Day for his first start as Panther. On his first drive, he connected with Isaiah Weston for a 48 yard gain. The Panthers finished the drive with a Tyler Hoosman 1 yard touchdown run. Spencer Cuvelier came up with a fumble recovery just moments later, his second fumble recovery of the game. The Panther’s offense went 24 yards in 2 plays, scoring on a 2 yard run by Vance McShane, his second rushing touchdown of the game. Korby Sander recorded an interception late in the quarter, returning the ball to the Sacramento State 27 yard line. Theo Day connected with Quan Hampton in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown to push the Panther lead to 34-9.
Q4: The Panther defense again showed its teeth early in the fourth quarter when All-American Jared Brinkman recorded a strip-sack and Tim Butcher recovered the fumble on the Sacramento State 31. The Hornets put together their first scoring drive of the half, going 69 yards in 5 plays to move to 34-16.
The Panthers will now shift their focus to St. Thomas. The Tommies are 1-0 after defeating Michigan Tech on Saturday, September 11 in a close 12-9 battle. The Panthers and Tommies will kick off at 4 pm in the UNI-Dome on Saturday, September 18. The weekend will also feature the return of the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.