UNI drops homecoming to NDSU, 23-20



UNI dropped their final home game of the spring season to North Dakota State on Saturday, 23-20. The Fall season is scheduled to being on Sept. 3, 2021, against Iowa State.


UNI’s homecoming game and final game of the spring season was a defensive battle, with the 24th-ranked Panthers falling to the 2nd-ranked North Dakota State Bison by the score of 23-20.

The game started with strong defense for both teams, with neither side scoring at all in the entire first quarter. The Panthers struck first off of a field goal from 31 yards out by Matthew Cook to begin the second quarter. The Panthers tacked on another Cook field goal later in the second quarter, this time from 35 yards out to bring their lead to 6-0 with 3:32 left to play in the first half. 

On the ensuing kickoff following the UNI score, NDSU’s Christian Watson returned the kickoff 100 yards to give the visitors a 7-6 lead, erasing the UNI advantage. The Bison again got the ball before the half ended and their kicker Jake Reinholz made a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to bring the score to 10-6 in favor of North Dakota State at the break.

The third quarter was almost exactly like the first quarter of the football game: a defensive affair. With 29 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, the Bison ended up scoring a touchdown when quarterback Zeb Noland threw the pass to receiver Josh Babicz from 36 yards away to give them a 17-6 lead.

Beginning the 4th quarter, UNI was looking for a comeback. They started the quarter off of a Tyler Hoosman touchdown run at the goal line; however their two-point conversion attempt failed as the pass fell incomplete. This left the game score 17-12 with NDSU still leading. The Bison stormed back on their following drive with a touchdown run of their own, when running back Hunter Luepka ran it in from two yards out.  NDSU attempted a two-point conversion as well, however the Panther defense held, leaving the score 23-12.

Down two scores with only six minutes left in the game, the Panthers were not done. Another touchdown run by Hoosman from one yard out followed by a successful two-point attempt brough the game to 23-20. North Dakota State ran out the clock however, as they took the victory on Saturday.

The Panthers are now 3-4 on the season and the Bison moved to 6-1. North Dakota State will wait to see their fate in the FCS football playoffs, while UNI will have a harder time convincing the committee their worth. Tentatively, the fall 2021 football season will begin for UNI on Saturday, September 4th on the road against Iowa State.