CEDAR FALLS – The University of Northern Iowa football team went on a third-quarter scoring rush, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an early lead by South Dakota. The Coyotes went home with the 34-21 win.
The No. 16 Panthers slipped to 3-3 overall, 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. South Dakota, ranked No. 21, improved to 5-2, 3-1.
USD jumped out to a 24-0 lead at halftime. UNI notched touchdowns on back-to-back drives to close the gap to 24-14. South Dakota added a touchdown and a field goal before UNI closed out the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown from quarterback Theo Day to Sergio Morancy.
Middle linebacker Spencer Cuvelier led the Panthers in tackles with 19.
Panther defensive tackle Tim Butcher was in on two sacks for a loss of 15 yards.
Wide receiver Quan Hampton led the Panther offense in receiving yards, picking up 108 yards in nine receptions. UNI had 303 passing yards.
Vance McShane’s 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter accounted for the majority of the Panthers’ rushing yardage. He amassed 65 yards in four carries. UNI had 90 rushing yards total.
1Q: USD opened play on their own 35-yard line. The Panther defense pushed the Coyotes to a three and out, forcing the punt. UNI moved the chains 32 yards before the offense stalled after nine plays. USD’s passing game came alive before Tim Butcher and Korby Sander combined on a sack to stop the Coyote momentum on UNI’s 33-yard line. The Panthers took over on its own 8-yard line, but a botched punt gave USD the ball on UNI’s 13-yard line. With 1:11 left in the first quarter, the Coyotes’ Carter Bell pulled in the 5-yard touchdown pass to put USD on the board.
Theo Day was picked off by USD’s Jack Cochrane on UNI’s 42-yard line. A 4-yard rush by Travis Theis and extra point put the Coyotes up 14-0.
2Q: A stingy USD defense kept UNI scoreless for the first half. South Dakota capped a five-play drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Carson Camp to JJ Galbreath. The extra point by Mason Lorber, put USD up 21-0. A hard hit forced UNI’s Isaiah Weston to fumble a 28-yard pass. USD’s Josiah Ganues took the ball 65 yards to set up a first and 10 for the Coyotes on UNI’s 15-yard line. UNI was able to hold USD to a 21-yard field goal to close out the first half, 24-0.
3Q: Vance McShane put UNI on the board with a 62-yard rushing touchdown just 45 seconds into the third quarter. Matthew Cook’s extra point narrowed the gap, 24-7 USD. Sacks by UNI’s Tim Butcher and Jared Brinkman helped end the next two USD’s drives. Sam Schnee built on the Panthers’ momentum, scoring on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Theo Day. USD’s Mason Lorber’s 45-yard field goal extended the Coyotes’ lead to 27-14.
4Q: With 12:59 left in the game, Bryce Flater recovered a fumble by South Dakota’s Nate Thomas on South Dakota’s 19-yard line. However, a fourth down attempt failed to give USD the ball back. USD failed to score on the drive. UNI would get one final touchdown on an 80-yard drive with 20-yard pass from Day to Sergio Morancy.
UNI travels to No. 7 South Dakota State for a 2 p.m. matchup. The Jackrabbits (4-1 / 1-1) are coming off a bye week. UNI leads the series 26-22-1. SDSU grabbed the 24-20 win in the last meeting on Feb. 19, 2021. Fans can tune into the game on ESPN3.