CEDAR FALLS – UNI’s defense stepped up to the plate to halt a surging Indiana State offense on Saturday, holding off the Sycamores for a 20-14 victory inside the UNI-Dome.
Quarterback Theo Day ran for one touchdown and threw for another to Alex Allen in the Panther win, totaling 180 yards through the air. Dom Williams led the UNI running game with 64 yards, as Allen led with 61 receiving yards. Matthew Cook drilled two field goals inside 40 yards, while also staying perfect on the season in PAT kicks.
Spencer Cuvelier led the defense with 11 total tackles, including 9 stops from Bryce Flater. Khristian Boyd, Edwin Dearman and Devin Rice each recorded one sack each, as Stefan Black II forced a fourth quarter fumble.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Panthers marched down the field in 9 plays on their opening drive to take an early 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Day to the end zone. Eating up nearly 11 and a half minutes, Indiana State responded with a 30-yard field goal from Ryan O’Grady on its first possession that extended into the early second quarter.
Following a pair of Sycamore sacks and an interception from Day, the UNI defense stepped up to slow the Indiana State offense, leading to a missed field goal from O’Grady. The Panthers turned around and drove 58 yards to the Sycamore 22-yard line, allowing Cook to hit a 39-yard field goal and give UNI a 10-3 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, the Panthers marched 87 yards to the end zone as Day connected with Allen on an 18-yard strike to give UNI a 17-3 advantage. The Sycamores scored 10 straight points on a 32-yard field goal by Stephen Ruiz, and a 20-yard touchdown run by Dawson Basinger, cutting the Panther lead to three points with 7:41 to play.
UNI tacked on a 35-yard field goal by Cook with just under two minutes to play to put the Panthers up by seven before the defense went to work on Indiana State’s final drive. Holding the Sycamores to their own end of the field, Benny Sapp III put the final touches on UNI’s victory with an interception of quarterback Gavin Screws in the final minute.
UNI improves to 30-5 all-time against the Sycamores, including 17-2 under head coach Mark Farley. The Panthers have now won 6 straight against Indiana State dating back to 2015.
The Panther defense has now recorded a sack in four consecutive games.
UNI’s defense held the Sycamores to one red zone touchdown in five opportunities. The Panthers scored twice in three trips to the red zone.
Placekicker Matthew Cook’s two made field goals against Indiana State give him 59 made kicks in his career, one shy of tying Brian Wingert (2003-06) for 3rd all-time in school history. Cook also tied Brian Mitchell (1989-91) with 75 career field goal attempts, 3rd most in program history.
The Panthers return home next week to take on the Illinois State Redbirds for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the UNI-Dome. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ with radio coverage available on the Panther Sports Radio Network and 1540 KXEL.