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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

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Panthers fall to Bison in season finale

Tye+Edwards+bolts+to+the+end+zone+in+the+48-20+loss+to+North+Dakota+State.
COURTESY
Tye Edwards bolts to the end zone in the 48-20 loss to North Dakota State.

The Northern Iowa football team hosted the North Dakota State Bison in their final game of the regular season. 

The Bison offense wasted no time driving right down the field to the Panthers’ 35-yard line. Soon after they scored on a 36-yard touchdown pass to take the lead 7-0. 

On the Panthers’ first play on offense, Amauri Pesek-Hickson rushed for an 11-yard gain to give the Panthers a first down. Quarterback Theo Day followed that up with a 24-yard pass to Sam Schnee to the Bison 36-yard line. The Panther offense couldn’t find the end zone, as they settled for a Matthew Cook 26-yard field goal to make it 7-3. 

The Bison offense continued to roll as they completed two 18-yard gains. Soon after they completed a 20-yard pass down to the Panthers 1-yard line. The next play they punched it in the end zone to make it 14-3 Bison. 

The Panther offense failed to respond as they went three-and-out on their next possession. After receiving great field position, the Bison scored on their fifth play from scrimmage with a 15-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 21-3. 

The Panther offense was able to respond, as Day found Layne Pryor for a 17-yard gain to the 33-yard line. A play later, Day found Sergio Morancy for a 22-yard gain down to the Bison 43-yard line. The following play, Tye Edwards broke free for a 40-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-10. 

On the following Bison offensive possession, the Panther defense was able to force a punt. 

The Panthers’ first play back on offense, the Bison defense forced an interception, setting them up at the 17-yard line. The Bison offense was held out of the end zone, as they settled for a 34-yard field goal to extend their lead to 24-10 with 7:11 to go in the second quarter. 

Disaster struck again for the Panther offense as the Bison forced another interception. They worked their way into the red zone and ended up settling for a 37-yard field goal to extend their lead to 27-10 going into halftime. 

The Panthers got the ball to start the second half and wasted no time, as Day found Schnee for a 31-yard gain down to the Bison 40-yard line. A play later, Day found Schnee again for a gain of 20 yards down to the 16-yard line. The Panthers couldn’t punch it into the end zone as they settled for a 30-yard field goal to cut the lead to 27-13 with 9:30 to go in the third quarter. 

Both teams were forced to punt on their next offensive possessions. The first play after getting the ball back, the Bison scored on a 65-yard rushing touchdown to extend their lead to 34-13. 

The Panther offense went back to work as Day found Logan Wolf for an 11-yard gain to the 41-yard line. Soon after Day found Schnee for an 8-yard gain, and Morancy for a 7-yard gain down to the Bison 36-yard line. On third-and-4, Day found Schnee once again for a 26-yard gain to the Bison 11-yard line. Day capped off the drive by finding Schnee again for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-20 Bison with 56 seconds to go in the third quarter. 

After receiving good field position at the Panthers 34-yard line, the Bison offense responded quickly with a 23-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 41-20. 

The second play after the Panthers got the ball back, the Bison defense struck again with a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown to extend their lead to 48-20 with 11:59 to go in the fourth quarter. 

The Panther offense responded quickly, as Day found Pesek-Hickson for a gain of 12 yards. Soon after he found Morancy for a gain of 19, and Schnee for a gain of 10 yards. After a penalty, the Panthers were set up at the North Dakota State 12-yard line. Day eventually found Pesek-Hickson for a 16-yard touchdown to make it 48-27, which would end up being the final score. 

The Panthers finish the season at 6-5 and will miss out on the postseason. The season got off to a tough 0-2 start against Iowa State and Weber State. They bounced back with a three-game win streak against Idaho State, Youngstown State and Indiana State. After a tough loss to South Dakota State, the Panthers put up another three-game win streak against North Dakota, Illinois State and Western Illinois. They ended with a two-game skid against Missouri State and North Dakota State. Day was the Panthers’ leading passer with 2,876 yards and 16 touchdowns passes. Edwards led the Panthers in rushing yards finishing with 536 yards and five touchdowns. Pesek-Hickson was a close second with 441 yards and five touchdowns. Schnee was the Panthers’ top receiver finishing with 1,039 yards. Morancy finished second with 449 yards and Wolf finished third with 411. On the defensive side of the ball, Jahsiah Galvan led the team in tackles with 77. Tucker Langenberg finished second with 71, and Dalesean Staley finished third with 70. This wrapped up the 125th season of Northern Iowa Football.

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MICHAEL SPAHN, Sports Writer

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