The UNI Panthers battled to the end but came up short against South Dakota, falling to the Coyotes, 28-25, on the road Saturday afternoon (Oct. 8, 2016).

UNI (2-3 overall, 1-1 MVFC) cut the South Dakota lead to three points to start the fourth quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown from Aaron Bailey. Then, Trevor Allen caught the two-point conversion pass to make it a three-point game with 13:52 to play.

The Panthers had a chance to tie the score with less than five minutes on the clock, but Austin Errthum’s 34-yard field goal went wide. UNI regained possession with 2:00 left in the fourth quarter, but was unable to produce any points on the final drive.

Bailey finished the game 12-21-1 for 149 yards and a touchdown, adding 95 yards on the ground and his fifth and sixth rushing touchdowns of the season. Tyvis Smith produced a 100-yard rushing performance for the Panthers, notching 102 yards on 20 carries.

Karter Schult led the Panthers in tackles with eight, including five solo. D’Shawn Dexter added seven tackles and a tackle for loss with Malcolm Washington coming up with an interception for the second game in a row.

South Dakota (2-3, 1-1) stunned the UNI defense on its first offensive drive of the game, scoring just minutes after the opening kick-off on a 69-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Chris Streveler. The whole scoring drive consisted of only three plays for 70 yards, taking 1:17 off the clock to give the Coyotes a 7-0 lead with 13:43 left in the first quarter.

UNI wasted no time in evening the score, punching in a 12-yard rushing touchdown of their own at the hands of Bailey. The drive started thanks to a 44-yard kickoff return from Jalen Rima, putting the Panthers on the 45-yard-line. Bailey’s fifth rushing score of the season ended an eight-play, 55-yard drive that took 3:21 off the clock to tie the score 7-7.

The first quarter shootout continued when the Panthers were hit deep again, this time with a 63-yard pass to the UNI 10-yard-line. On the next play, Trevor Bouma found the end zone on a 10-yard rush, putting the Coyotes back up 14-7 with 7:41 on the clock. The scoring drive took seven plays for 75 yards.

With 2:06 on the clock, UNI tied the score 14-14 after Michael Malloy tripped up the Coyote safety on a juke after a pass from Bailey, running into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. The 12-play drive took 5:29 off the clock, with the Panthers going 76 yards down field with just 2:06 left to play in the first quarter.

UNI took its first lead of the game with a 29-yard field goal from Errthum with 7:58 left to play in the half to make it 17-14, but on the very next play, South Dakota scored on a 75-yard passing play from Streveler to Tacari Carpenter, taking back a 21-17 lead.

South Dakota added to its lead, scoring the first points of the third quarter with 3:29 left to play. Streveler struck again, this time with a 29-yard pass to Carpenter, with the wide receiver tucking in his second touchdown of the game. It ended a 68-yard drive for five plays and 1:55 off the clock, giving the Coyotes a 28-17 lead.

Smith carried the Panthers down field late in the third quarter, with UNI’s drive spilling over into the start of the fourth quarter. Bailey capped the drive off with a one-yard rushing touchdown, making it 28-23. Allen converted on the two-point conversion on a 15-yard pass from Bailey, cutting the USD lead to 28-25. Smith rushed for 51 of the 75 yards in the scoring drive, ending an 11-play drive that took 4:48 off the clock.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it was the last touchdown scored in the game.

UP NEXT: UNI returns to action on Saturday (Oct. 15) when they travel to eastern Ohio to battle Youngstown State. Kick-off from Stambaugh Stadium is set for 6 p.m. CT.