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CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa’s seniors wanted to have another dance.

After Saturday’s 41-3 victory over Indiana State inside the UNI-Dome in their regular-season finale, the 24th-ranked Panthers are polishing their dancing shoes.

The victory was UNI’s third consecutive and fifth in six games, guaranteeing the Panthers (7-4 overall, 6-2 Missouri Valley Football Conference) a tie for second in the league.

It capped an incredible run for a team that was once 2-3 overall and facing four consecutive Top 10 opponents.

“Just pleased with the last six to seven weeks,” UNI head coach Mark Farley said. “This game was hard just because you didn’t want to drop the ball on the last one after what we had done for the last month or so.”

Now the Panthers will have an anxious wait until the FCS playoff committee reveals its 24-team field at 10 a.m. today on ESPNU. Based on a strength of schedule generally ranked No. 1 in FCS and that stretch run, UNI expects to make the field.

UNI has put in bid to host a home first-round game, which would be played next Saturday.

“Just staying after it,” linebacker Jared Farley said of what it took to finish strong. “We put our head down and went to work each and every day.”

“We just had to keep playing,” senior wide receiver Daurice Fountain added. “We knew we were a talented team and we hadn’t even touched our full potential, yet. I personally believe we have not touched our full potential.”

A year after missing the playoffs, UNI took care of any doubt early Saturday as it took control after the Sycamores (0-11, 0-8) scored on their opening drive to take a 3-0 lead.

The Panthers scored on their first four possessions and five of seven in the first half to lead 27-3 at halftime.

“I thought our players did a nice job,” Mark Farley said. “Offense scored on almost every possession in the first half, that was important, and the defense finally got in rhythm after that first drive.”

With back-up quarterback Colton Howell filling in for injured Eli Dunne, Fountain hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass with 7 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first quarter and UNI was off to the races.

Fountain added a 23-yard scoring grab with 37 seconds left in the half, while Marcus Weymiller had a 22-yard touchdown run and Sam Drysdale kicked field goals of 24 and 23 yards.

“Shout out to them, they played hard, that was a hard fighting team, but we knew we had to get it done today,” Fountain said.

UNI opened the second half with a 17-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 9:12 to take a 34-3 lead on Weymiller’s second touchdown run, this one from five yards out.

“That is what we went out to do is drive the field and eat as much clock as we could,” Farley said. “That drive was Colton Howell. He made two big plays. He scrambled on a throw to Briley Moore, and he scrambled and reached the ball out to get a first down. A very headsy play.

“I saw growth from Colton from last week to this week.”

Howell finished 17 of 26 for 216 and his first two career touchdown passes. Weymiller rushed for 105 yards and two scores, his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Defensively, UNI picked off three Sycamore passes — one each by Xavior Williams, Nikholi Jaghai and Keelon Brookins — while the Panthers out-gained the Sycamores, 386-247, the second consecutive week UNI has held an opponent under 300 total yards.

“The main thing was to do our job today,” Farley said. “They did their job. They had to win this game.

“This wasn’t the easiest prep, either. There was a lot at stake, but at the same time they are hearing all the things of what they accomplished to this point and they still had to finish what they started. I was pleased they had that leadership within them to get it done.”

UNI 41, Indiana St. 3

Indiana St. 3 0 0 0 — 3

North. Iowa 17 10 7 7 — 41

First quarter

INS — FG Nunez 48, 12:27. (Drive: 5 plays, 48 yards, 2:43).

UNI — Fountain 4 pass from Howell (Drysdale kick), 7:46. (Drive: 10 plays, 68 yards, 4:41).

UNI — FG Drysdale 24, 3:53. (Drive: 3 plays, 4 yards, 1:36).

UNI — Weymiller 22 run (Drysdale kick), 2:43. (Drive: 2 plays, 35 yards, :33).

Second quarter

UNI — FG Drysdale, 23, 13:09. (Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 3:25).

UNI — Fountain 23 pass from Howell (Drysdale kick), :37. (Drive: 12 plays. 97 yards, 5:12).

Third quarter

UNI — Weymiller 5 run (Drysdale kick), 5:48. (Drive: 17 plays, 75 yards, 9:12).

Fourth quarter

UNI — Browning 3 run (Drysdale kick), 9:03. (Drive: 9 plays, 57 yards, 4:45).

Att. — 8,232.



First downs 11 24

Rushes-yards 34-123 50-170

Passing yards 124 216

Comp-att-int 12-24-3 17-26-1

Return yards 78 34

Punts-avg. 3-47.3 2-46.0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalty-yards 7-80 5-48

Time of possession 23:33 36:27



INDIANA STATE — L. Booker 19-99, J. Keys 9-34, R. Clifford 1-4, B. Pugh 1-3, C. Sparks 1-3, J. McClendon 1-minus 4, I. Harker 2-minus 16.

UNI — M. Weymiller 29-105, C. Howell 4-35, J. Browning 11-34, T. Allen 2-4, C. Jegen 2-4, J. Farley 1-3.


INDIANA STATE — C. Sparks 7-12-2, 85 yards, I. Harker 5-12-1, 39 yards.

UNI — C. Howell 17-26-1, 216 yards.


INDIANA STATE — L. Booker 5-57, J. McClendon 4-35, B. Pugh 3-32.

UNI — D. Fountain 5-80, J. James 3-40, B. Moore 3-35, A. Graham 2-34, M. Weymiller 1-15, T. Allen 3-12.

Tackles (solo-ast-total)

INDIANA STATE — Moss 2-10-12, Copeland 8-3-11, Griffith 2-7-9, Green 5-1-6, Clifford 3-3-6, Aupiu 2-4-6, Mosley 2-4-6, Butler 1-5-6, Gill 0-6-6, Rollins 3-2-5, Ardley 3-2-5, McGlaun 0-3-3, Lockett 2-0-2, Tucker 1-1-2, Sager 0-2-2, Cox 0-2-2, Patterson 1-0-1, Thompson 1-0-1, Booker 1-0-1, Wozniak 1-0-1, Moala 0-1-1, Pugh 0-1-1, Keys 0-1-1.

UNI — Ferch 4-2-6, Jaghai 4-2-6, Neal 3-3-6, Reth 1-4-5, Wells 1-4-5, Nimmers 3-1-4, Douglas 2-2-4, Washington 3-0-3, Woods 2-1-3, Williams 1-2-3, Thomas 1-2-3, Evans 1-2-3, Sander 1-2-3, Suntken 0-3-3, Brinkman 1-1-2, Brookins 0-2-2, Farley 0-2-2, Errthum 1-0-1, Smith 0-1-1.

Tackles for loss

INDIANA STATE — Copeland 1-1, Griffith 1-2, Miosley 1-1, Moss 0.5-1, Rollins 0.5-1.

UNI — Neal 1-7, Reth 1-4, Douglas 1-1, Wells 0.5-4, Smith 0.5-5.



UNI — Neal 1-7, Wells 0.5-4, Smith 0.5-5.


Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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