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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

UNI wins third straight against Sycamores

The Panthers stopped the Sycamores with a score of 27-17 to continue their three-game winning streak.

UNI held off the Indiana State Sycamores Saturday night 27-20, improving to a 3-2 record, and starting the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) with a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2011 season. 

Harrison Bey-Buie led the way for the Panthers with 137 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Bey-Buie, who usually splits reps at the running back position, was thrust into the starting role early in the first quarter as Tye Edwards left the game with an apparent groin injury. 

Indiana State came into the game looking to control the clock, in an effort to keep the ball out of the hands of UNI’s explosive offense. The Sycamores did just that in the opening quarter as the Panthers only had two drives in the quarter, both of which resulted in punts from Noah Pettinger. 

The only points of the first quarter came from a 30-yard field goal at the five minute mark. Indiana State’s kicker knocked the ball through the uprights to cap off their 13 play, 8 minute and 29 second opening drive to give the Sycamores a 3-0 lead. 

The second quarter was drastically different from the first as the Panthers found their rhythm on offense. Bey-Buie had a career-long 37-yard run to set up UNI with their first score of the game, a 2-yard rush from Bey-Buie himself, giving the Panthers a 7-3 lead. 

After trading possessions, Indiana State flipped field position with a good punt return and set themselves up in UNI territory. The Sycamores drove 44 yards down the field and pushed the ball into the endzone on a 3-yard run to reclaim the lead, 10-7. 

The Panthers looked to go back on top before halftime, and did just that as they drove the ball 71 yards down the field with 1:18 left on the game clock. Theo Day opened the drive with a 10-yard run, and threw for 58 yards to set up UNI at the 3-yard line with seven seconds left on the clock. Bey-Buie did the rest with help from his offensive line as he crossed the goal line as time expired. Matthew Cook put the extra point through the uprights to give UNI a 14-10 lead at the half. 

Coming out of the break, Indiana State connected on a 54-yard bomb on the opening play, which later produced a 15-yard touchdown pass to give the Sycamores a 17-14 lead. 

UNI would not back down and scored on their next drive to reclaim the lead. Bey-Buie scored his third touchdown of the game as he found a seam in the Sycamore defense and split it on his way to a 26-yard score, giving UNI a 21-17 lead.

The Panther defense stepped up big the following drive as Indiana State would lose 16 yards and be forced to punt. Cordarrius Bailey got back-to-back sacks on the quarterback, and finished the night with his second hat trick of the season, sacking the quarterback three times throughout the game. Bailey leads the team with six sacks on the year. 

UNI capitalized on their next drive as Cook drilled a 25-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 24-17 lead. 

The defense continued to stall the Sycamores and after trading possessions, safety Dalesean Staley forced the first turnover of the game as he intercepted the ball in Sycamore territory, setting up a season-long 50-yard field goal from Cook, giving UNI a commanding 27-17 lead. 

Indiana State, hoping for a fourth quarter miracle, drove the ball 51 yards on a 14 play, 7 minute 49 second drive, which ultimately ended in a field goal. Making the score 27-20 in favor of the Panthers. 

With roughly two minutes left in the game, the Sycamores were forced to try an onside kick to get a chance at tying the score. The place kicker drove the ball into the ground and the Sycamores were first to jump on the loose ball, giving Indiana State hope. 

The hope was short lived as three penalties were called on the Sycamores throughout the drive. With 28 seconds left, Edwin Dearman intercepted the ball at the two-yard line to seal the victory for UNI, 27-20. 

It was a career night for many Panthers including Bey-Buie’s 137 rushing yards shattered his previous record of 99 yards against Eastern Illinois in 2021. He also set a new career high for touchdowns in a game with his three scores against the Sycamores. Bailey became just the fifth player in program history to record multiple games with at least three sacks in their career. 

The Panthers will be on the road again next week as they travel to Brookings, South Dakota to take on the defending national champions and top ranked South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. The game can be listened to on the Panther Sports Radio Network and streamed on ESPN+.

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STEPH STARK, Head Photographer

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