Sept. 28, 2013: Panthers take down McNeese State

UNI+Running+Back+David+Johnson+crosses+into+the+endzone+for+one+of+his+two+touchdowns+in+the+Panthers+41-6+rout+of+McNeese+State+on+Sept.+28%2C+2013.

Sioux City Journal

UNI Running Back David Johnson crosses into the endzone for one of his two touchdowns in the Panther’s 41-6 rout of McNeese State on Sept. 28, 2013.

DAVID WARRINGTON

On Sept. 28, 2013, the McNeese State Cowboys traveled from Lake Charles, Louisiana to the UNI-Dome for a matchup with the Northern Iowa Panthers. The Panthers entered the game with a 4-0 record and ranked fifth in the nation among all FCS teams. McNeese State came in 4-1 and ranked ninth in the nation. A rare matchup between two teams ranked in the top ten nationally meant there was sure to be some exciting football.

McNeese State won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The game started off with a bang when Defensive Back Blake White forced a fumble on the opening kickoff that was recovered by fellow DB Jeremy Johnson. Unfortunately, the Panthers couldn’t capitalize as their offense went three-and-out and Kicker Tyler Sievertsen missed a 36-yard field goal attempt. Both teams went back and forth, unable to put any points on the board, until UNI quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen found running back David Johnson for a 32-yard touchdown. Sievertsen’s extra point gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead that they would take to the end of the first quarter.

On the second play of the second quarter, the Panthers faced a fourth and nine from the Cowboys 34-yard line. The Panthers lined up as if they were going to punt, but it turned out to be a fake as QB Justin Black found tight end Sam Rohr for 19 yards and a first down. On the very next play, QB Brion Carnes ran the ball in from 15 yards out for a touchdown. The Panthers offense stalled out at the 6-yard line on their next drive, but Sievertsen knocked in a 23-yard field goal. The Panther defense continued to dominate as they didn’t allow any points in the first half, and the score remained 17-0 at halftime.

UNI got the ball to begin the second half, and fans in the UNI-Dome likely felt a sense of deja vu as there was another fumble on the opening kickoff of a half. Luckily, the Panthers got on top of the ball and did not lose possession. They were able to drive down the field, and they finished off the drive when Kollmorgen connected with wide receiver Chad Owens for a 25-yard touchdown. This gave the Panthers a strong 24-0 lead against the nation’s 9th ranked team.

On the ensuing possession McNeese State put together their best drive of the day. RB Marcus Wiltz ran for 52 yards on the drive, and also put the Cowboys on the board when he caught a pass from QB Cody Stroud for a 6-yard touchdown. The Cowboys attempted a two-point conversion to try and make the game closer, but it failed, and the Panthers lead 24-6.

Any hope of this possession leading to more momentum for the Cowboys was crushed when Defensive Lineman Collin Albrecht forced a fumble that Linebacker Sam Tim recovered and returned just two yards shy of the endzone. Two plays later, Kollmorgen ran it in for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 31-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The game was pretty much over entering the fourth quarter as UNI held a large lead. However, that did not stop the Panthers from putting up another ten points. For the second time that day, Kollmorgen found Johnson for a touchdown, this time from five yards out. Sievertsen also knocked in a 17-yard field goal for another three points. The UNI defense didn’t allow any points in the final quarter, and the Panthers came out on top by a final score of 41-6.

In what should have been a hard-fought contest between two top ten teams, the Panthers dominated the ninth ranked Cowboys. QB Sawyer Kollmorgen completed 16 of his 27 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. RB David Johnson ran the ball 16 times for 87 yards, and also caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. LB Jordan Gacke led the team in tackles with ten. With the win the Panthers moved up in the rankings to number four in the nation the following week.