Panthers Conquer Another Top-10 Opponent [PHOTOS]
Fueled by a dominating pass rush, the UNI Panthers knocked off another top-10 opponent on Saturday (Oct. 21, 2017).
The unranked Panthers (4-3, 3-1 MVFC) upset No. 9 Youngstown State, 19-14, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. UNI (4-3, 3-1 MVFC) has now downed back-to-back top-10 opponents for the first time since the 2014 season, when they recorded consecutive upsets No. 6 Illinois State and No. 1 North Dakota State.
The UNI defense recorded 10 sacks on Saturday, coming within one quarterback take-down from tying the program record. The 10 sacks are tied for the most by any FCS team this season, with Eastern Washington also earning 10 against Fordham on Sept. 16.
Junior Rickey Neal earned a career-high 3.5 sacks for UNI, while Keelon Brookins and Hezekiah Applegate added 2.0. Duncan Ferch earned 1.0 sack, along with Elijah Campbell, while Seth Thomas rounded out the stat sheet with a half sack.
UNI held the Penguins (3-4, 1-3) well below their season average for rushing yards, allowing Youngstown State only 47 on the ground. Entering the game, YSU sported the ninth-best rushing attack in the nation (248.5 yards per game).
Junior Marcus Weymiller poured in 133 on the ground for the Panthers, while scoring both of UNI’s touchdowns. Weymiller became the first Panther to rush over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks since 2015 when Aaron Bailey achieved the feat against Missouri State and Southern Illinois. Quarterback Eli Dunne had another mistake-free day throwing the ball, with 151 yards on 9-of-20 passing.
Much like last week’s upset of No. 7 South Dakota State, the Panthers jumped out to an early lead against their top-10 foe. This time, UNI plowed ahead for a 10-0 lead with 11:31 remaining in the second quarter following Weymiller’s 1-yard plunge.
The Penguins bounced back to score a touchdown of their own after a deep throw from Nathan Mays to Damoun Patterson found the end zone. With the lead trimmed to 10-7, UNI went back to Weymiller as he bounced outside for a six-yard score to extend the lead to 16-7 following the failed extra point.
Midway through the third quarter the Panthers capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a 28-yard field goal from Sam Drysdale (his second of the day) to push the lead to 19-7. A late surge from the Penguins through the air scored another touchdown – this time from Ricky Davis to Alvin Bailey – for 15 yards. YSU attempted a last gasp outside kick to follow, but Weymiller pounced on the ball and UNI went into the victory formation.
UP NEXT: UNI continues its stretch against top-10 opponents as the Panthers travel to No. 2 North Dakota State on Saturday (Oct. 28). Kick-off is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D.