Oct. 18, 2008: Panthers defeat NDSU at the Dome


Courtesy Photo

UNI quarterback Pat Grace escapes pressure form the NDSU defense on Oct. 18, 2008. The Panthers defeat the Bison 23-13.

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

A late afternoon football game on Oct. 18, 2008 matched up the North Dakota State Bison against the Northern Iowa Panthers at the UNI-Dome. Both teams came into the matchup ranked in the FCS top-25 and were looking to gain ground in the Missouri Valley Conference. North Dakota State won the coin toss and elected to defer their choice until the second half, meaning the Panthers received the ball to start the game.

Led by quarterback Pat Grace, the Panthers opened the game on their own 30 yard line. A balance of running and short passes by the UNI offense brought them into NDSU territory, capped off by a 47-yard field goal by Panther kicker Billy Hallgren, giving them a quick 3-0 lead. On the ensuing Bison possession, running back Tyler Roehl broke off a 40-yard run to bring NDSU into the Panther side of the field, setting them up for a prime scoring opportunity. However, the Panther defense would stand tough and keep their opponents to a 24-yard field goal by Bison kicker Shawn Bibeau, knotting the score at 3-3.

Following the score, North Dakota State’s kickoff was returned 70 yards by UNI kick returner Jarred Herring down to the NDSU 25 yard line, leaving the Panthers in a golden opportunity to score. They would do just that, as their first play of the drive saw running back Corey Lewis break off a 25 yard run into the endzone, putting UNI up 10-3 with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter. The two teams traded three-and-out possessions before the Panthers were in business again at the start of the second quarter.

Moving the ball steadily down the field, UNI was left with a third and seven at the NDSU 35-yard line. Quarterback Pat Grace found his receiver D.P. Eyman for a 35-yard touchdown, expanding the Panther lead to 17-3. The Panthers tacked on two more field goals with NDSU adding one of their own, leaving the halftime score at 23-6 UNI at the break.

In the second half of the game, the Panther defense held strong. Playing with a 17 point lead, the UNI offense focused more on running the clock and keeping the defense on the sideline. Northern Iowa did not score in the remainder of the game, but did spot the Bison a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 23-13. This score would hold for the rest of the game, as the Panthers took down the Bison. The win moved UNI to 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in the conference, and the loss dropped NDSU to 3-4 overall on the season and 1-3 in the conference.

UNI quarterback Pat Grace finished 12-23 with 149 yard and a touchdown along with 37 rushing yards. Panther running backs Corey Lewis and Derrick Law both had strong showings, with Lewis running for 65 yards and a touchdown and Law running for 56 yards. The Panther defense continued to be strong, as they had been throughout the whole season.