Panthers roll Mustangs, 34-20, in California for second win


DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

Saturday, the UNI Panthers towered over No. 14 Cal Poly with a final score of 34-20. The Panthers, now 2-1, are excited and ready for more as the team showed improvements in all facets of the game.

In San Luis Obispo, CA, the Panthers showed up ready for their second win against a FCS Top 20 team; their preparation leading up to the game had paid off.

This was another big win for UNI, having made positve strides since the season opener. The Panthers ground game once again proved too much for their opponent as four out of five scores were rushed in. Scoring 21 points in the first quarter,  Savon Huggins starting things off with a 7-yard carry for the first points of the night.

On the next possession, Aaron Bailey found pay dirt with a 14-yard carry to the end zone. Shortly after, Tyvis Smith ran it in hard with a one-yard carry putting the Panthers up 21-0 by the end of the first.

“You have to get ahead of a team like this,” said UNI head coach Mark Farley. “I thought our offense came out on fire and was really in sync and really did a nice job in the first half.”

The Panthers put up seven more points in the second quarter, when Bailey connected with Braden Lehman for 28 yards and a touchdown, going into halftime, 28-7.

Big contributions on the defensive side of the ball include double-digit tackles for Brett McMakin (15), Jared Farley (13) and D’Shawn Dexter (12). Deiondre’ Hall had his second interception of the season, and a forced fumble by Isaac Alex all pitched in to slow down the Mustang’s triple-option attack.

Cal Poly’s Head Coach Tim Walsh underestimated UNI’s intensity on the field that night:

“And I think the pace of play, give them credit … was probably a little bit faster than we anticipated,” Walsh said.

UNI also received MVFC honors for the second straight week in the win. Bailey was named Newcomer of the Week again for his 275 yards of total offense and three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). McMakin was named Defensive Player of the Week for his added performance in the defense only allowing 77 passing yards for Cal Poly.

The Panthers look forward to another game on the road against Illinois State (2-1), also coming off of a recent win against Eastern Illinois. The event will go down Saturday, Oct. 3, with kickoff starting at 12:00 p.m.