UNI dominates Missouri State, 41-20

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  • Korby Sander (5) celebrates after recording a tackle for loss. UNI recorded seven tackles for loss and five sacks on Saturday.

  • Dom Williams (7) celebrates with Desmond Hutson (81) after Williams scored one of his four rushing touchdowns in the win.

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BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

The UNI football team had a dominant win over the Missouri State Bears on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Panthers won 41-20, while individually some players had career best performances. 

All three phases of the game started hot, right from the opening kickoff. Kicker Matthew Cook, with some help from the Bears, pinned the Missouri State offense at their own 2-yard line to start the first drive. After a rush for no gain, defensive back Stefan Black II intercepted MSU’s first pass of the game. UNI’s first offensive snap carried that momentum into the endzone as Dom Williams rushed for a 9-yard touchdown.

After four short plays, MSU punted the ball back to UNI leading to a 10 play, 73-yard drive ending in another Williams rushing touchdown, this time from one yard out. The Panthers led 14-0 with 6:40 left in the first quarter. 

After three straight drives all ending in punts, UNI added to their lead in the second quarter. The drive was highlighted by a trick play, 30-yard completion, from receiver Sam Schnee to tight end Alex Allen leading to a 25-yard field goal from Cook to put the Panthers up 17-0 halfway through the quarter. 

This quarter saw the most points scored, as each team scored a touchdown. Missouri State found the endzone for the first time with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jason Shelley to Naveon Mitchell with 4:07 left in the half. UNI responded with a 12 play drive ending in a 27-yard touchdown pass of their own. Theo Day had to use his legs to buy time before firing the ball to Sergio Morancy in the endzone. UNI led at halftime 24-7.

UNI started the second half with a three-and-out and a punt, which MSU returned to the UNI 20-yard line. The Bears took advantage of the good field position and quickly scored their second touchdown of the game with a 1-yard rush into the endzone. The Panthers followed this with another touchdown drive ending once again with a Williams score from 2 yards out.

On the ensuing drive, after MSU had reached the redzone, quarterback Shelley fumbled the ball due to a sack from Cordarrius Bailey which was recovered by Spencer Culvelier. Another 12 play drive led to another Williams touchdown on a 10 yard carry to the endzone. Missouri State scored their final points of the game with a 6-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. After a failed two-point conversion the score sat at 38-20. 

A 35-yard field goal from Cook accounted for the final points of the game, ending a 10 play, 74-yard drive. MSU turned the ball over due to a failed fourth down conversion on the next drive, and after one first down UNI was able to run the rest of the clock out to end the game. The final score was 41-20, UNI.

Williams flourished against the Bears, totalling 123 total yards as well as a career high four rushing touchdowns. Vance McShane had a solid outing with 83 total yards as well. Wide receiver Logan Wolf had arguably the best game of his career with lifetime bests in receptions, six, and yards, 112. Wolf also had three clutch third down receptions resulting in first downs. Day had another impressive performance with 291 passing yards and a touchdown pass while completing almost 60 percent of his passes.

The Panther defense was also very impressive in the win with five sacks on the day. Defensive linemen Cordarius Bailey and Cannon Butler each had two sacks while defensive back Jevon Brekke had one. Bailey forced a fumble on one of his sacks to account for one of UNI’s two takeaways. The other came from Stefan Black II’s first quarter interception.

UNI will travel to Carbondale, Ill. to play the Southern Illinois Salukis this Saturday, Oct. 29. The game will start at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN3. The final home game of the season will be the following Saturday, Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.