Wildcats pounce on Panthers in Home Opener

Tye Edwards stops a defender in his tracks with a stiff arm.
Tye Edwards stops a defender in his tracks with a stiff arm.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Panthers played host to Weber State. The Panthers came into this game 0-1 following the week-one loss to Iowa State. The Panthers were looking to pick up their first victory to avoid dropping to 0-2. This was not going to be a small task, as the Wildcats came into the game as a top 10 FCS team in the country. In the end, the Panthers could not do enough to pick up their first victory of the season. 


On the Panthers opening drive of the game, they made their way into Weber State territory, but were stalled when Theo Day was dropped for a sack on a third and long. Weber State wasted no time when they got the ball. Quarterback Kylan Weisser connected with Jacob Sharp on a 77 yard pass that brought the ball all the way down to the three yard line. On the next play they ran it in for six, giving the Wildcats an early 7-0 advantage. The Panthers managed a field goal on their next drive, and got themselves on the board, 7-3. Late in the first quarter, UNI’s Tye Edwards lost a fumble while driving into Weber State territory. Fortunately for him and the rest of the Panthers, Dalesean Staley got the ball right back with an interception. The Panthers were preparing to drive while being down 7-3 at the end of the quarter. 

Following the pick, the Panthers had a nice 65 yard drive that concluded with a pass from Day to Sam Schnee for a touchdown. The Panthers took their first lead of the day, 10-7. A couple of drives later, the Wildcats struck back on a 26 yard touchdown run by Damon Bankston. They led 14-10 with just over three minutes left in the half. The Panthers responded immediately, as Day threw the ball all around the field on a quick drive. It capped off with a one yard touchdown by Edwards. The Wildcats started their next drive with just 53 seconds left, but were in Panthers territory with a great return. They got all the way down to UNIs one yard line, but the defense held strong and held them to a field goal. It was all tied up going into the half, 17-17.


Weber State got the ball to start the second half, but the Panthers managed to force a punt. This gave the Panthers the chance to set the tone for the second half. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan as, deep in their own territory, Day threw an interception. Weber State had great field position following the pick at the UNI 10 yard line. Just two plays later, the Wildcats took a 24-17 lead. The Panthers’ mistakes continued on the next drive. On a crucial third down, Day dropped back to pass and was sacked, and he fumbled on the play. Weber State picked it up and got to start another drive inside Panthers territory at the 45. Luckily the Panthers defense managed to give up nothing and the score remained 24-17. The score would remain going into the final quarter. 

Neither team got anything going in the first half of the final quarter, but mistakes plagued the Panthers yet again with just under eight minutes left. Schnee muffed the punt return, and the Wildcats would get a field goal off of the great field position, giving them a lead of 27-17. With just under six minutes left, the Panthers chances were not looking good. Day threw another interception, the fifth Panther turnover of the day, and the Wildcats officially put the game away on a 58 yard touchdown run by Bakston. That touchdown would be the final points of the game, and the Wildcats defeated the Panthers 34-17.

The Panthers dropped to 0-2 in a tough showing in the home opener. They will travel to Pocatello, Idaho next week to go up against Idaho State, in hopes to rebound with their first victory of the season. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Northern Iowan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *