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College Football: Williams rushes for four scores as Panthers defeat Bears, 41-20

CEDAR FALLS - UNI set the tone early and rolled to victory on Saturday afternoon as the Panthers took down the Missouri State Bears, 41-20 at the UNI-Dome.

CEDAR FALLS – UNI set the tone early and rolled to victory on Saturday afternoon as the Panthers took down the Missouri State Bears, 41-20 at the UNI-Dome in Missouri Valley Conference (MVFC) play. The Panthers improve to 4-4 on the season with the win and 3-2 in league play.

Dom Williams tied a school record with a career-high four rushing touchdowns with 102 yards on the ground. Quarterback Theo Day completed 59.4% of his pass attempts for 291 yards and one passing touchdown to Sergio Morancy, while Logan Wolf set a new career-best with 112 receiving yards. Bryce Flater totaled 8 tackles for the UNI defense, with Cordarrius Bailey and Cannon Butler each notched a pair of sacks. Bailey also forced his first fumble as a Panther, with Spencer Cuvelier notching his fourth career fumble recovery.


Stefan Black grabbed his first career interception on the game’s second play from scrimmage, helping set up a 9-yard rushing touchdown by Williams. UNI struck again on its next possession, capping a 10 play, 73 yard drive off with a 1-yard run by Williams to put the Panthers ahead 14-0.

Shutting down Missouri State’s running attack and holding the Bears to just 9 first half rushing yards, the Panthers tacked on a 25-yard field goal from Matthew Cook to take a 17-0 lead. The Bears responded with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jason Shelley to Javeon Mitchell for their lone score of the half, cutting UNI’s lead to 17-7. Aided by a flea-flicker play with Day lateralling the ball to Sam Schnee and throwing to Alex Allen, the Panthers found the end zone one final time on a 27-yard pass from Day to Morancy to take a 24-7 edge into halftime.

Missouri State opened the half with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Trae Thompson before the Panthers drove 75 yards in nine plays, capped by Williams’ third rushing score of the afternoon. UNI stifled the Bears’ momentum the very next drive as Bailey forced a fumble by Shelley, with Cuvelier recovering the loose ball. Thanks to a key third down pass from Day to Wolf for 37 yards, Williams reached the end zone for the fourth time on a 10-yard run to give UNI a 38-14 lead on the fourth quarter’s first play.
Following a MSU rushing touchdown by Jacardia Wright, Cook added his second field goal of the game from 35-yards out in the final five minutes of play, securing the double-digit victory for the Panthers.


Dom Williams’ became the 10th Panther in school history to score four rushing touchdowns in a game on Saturday, and the first since Aaron Bailey in 2015 against Missouri State.

Matthew Cook’s five converted PAT kicks give him 109 on his career, moving him into 4th all-time in UNI history. Cook has not missed a PAT kick in his career.

Cook’s two made field goals against Missouri State, bringing his career total to 63, moving him into a tie with Brian Mitchell (1989-91) for the second most made kicks in UNI and MVFC history. Billy Hallgren holds the school and conference record for made field goals with 64.

The Panther defense totaled a season-high 5 sacks in Saturday’s win.

UNI’s 522 total yards of offense against the Bears marks the first time since 2007 the Panthers have recorded multiple games of 500+ offensive yards.

Head coach Mark Farley improves to 19-3 all-time against Missouri State following Saturday’s victory.


UNI returns to the road next Saturday against the Southern Illinois Salukis in Carbondale. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT at Saluki Stadium, with the game being broadcast on ESPN3 and the Panther Sports Radio Network.

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