UNI defeats Cal Poly in home opener



Eli Dunne (14) gets the snap and looks for an open target against Cal Poly’s defense.

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

After losing their first game of the season to the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, the Panthers returned home to defend the Dome against California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly).

It was a long game, but the Panthers were able to secure the victory after a 45-38 overtime effort.

UNI was unable to get any points on the board during the first quarter, but held Cal Poly to just seven. In the second quarter,  however, Trevor Allen was the first to make it into the endzone on a 52-yard scoring run. In just 44 seconds, UNI went 51 yards to tie the game at 7-7.

Shortly after, Jared Farley recovered a Cal Poly fumble and took it to the house for 48-yards, giving UNI a 14-7 lead.

The Mustangs recovered, scoring off a 34-yard pass into the endzone. But UNI answered back with a 21-yard completion to Daurice Fountain for another seven points, and Sam Drysdale made the extra point.

It was a very back and forth game, and after going 75 yards in 3:43, Cal Poly tied the game again at 21-21 with just under a minute left to play in the first half.

But it did not take long for Eli Dunne and the Panther offense to reclaim the lead as he connected with Aaron Graham on the 31-yard touchdown completion. The second half would begin with UNI ahead 28-21.

Cal Poly opened the third quarter with a field goal, but the Panthers kept finding themselves in the endzone after another 36-yard completion to Fountain. There was not a lot of scoring in the third, as those were the only notable efforts until the fourth quarter.

Drysdale made a 45-yard field goal to begin the fourth quarter, though UNI still led 38-24. Cal Poly then found themselves at the one yard line and were able to punch it in and narrow their deficit to 31-38. Cal Poly sent the game into overtime with just five seconds left in regulation after a 53-yard touchdown pass.

It only took four plays for the Panthers to go 25 yards in overtime and put an end to a long game.  Fountain caught a 13-yard pass from Dunne, and UNI advanced to 1-1 on the season and sent Cal Poly to 0-3.

10,246 fans saw what proved to be a very offensive-driven game. Cal Poly totaled 543 yards compared to UNI’s 419. The Mustangs controlled the running game, with 305 rushing and 238 passing yards. UNI took to the sky and led with 325 passing yards and just 94 rushing.

Dunne finished the evening with 325 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. Fountain had 75 yards and three of his five receptions were touchdowns. Briley Moore led the team with 99 receiving yards on seven receptions. Allen rushed eight times for 67 yards and recorded one touchdown.

Duncan Ferch led the defense with 15 total tackles, Adam Reth had 14 and Farley had 11, as well as the fumble recovery for six points on the board. Elijah Campbell was the one to force the Cal Poly fumble in the first quarter.

The Panthers will play their next two games on the road, facing Southern Utah, followed by Southern Illinois before returning to Cedar Falls for their homecoming game against Western Illinois in October.