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CEDAR FALLS — The chips have been all shoved in, and with flair, too.

Northern Iowa closed out its 2018 regular season with another dominating effort in a 37-0 victory over Missouri State Saturday in Missouri Valley Football Conference action at the UNI-Dome.

In a must-win game to keep their FCS playoff hopes alive, the Panthers (6-5 overall, 5-3 MVFC) had no trouble with the Bears.

“It was very nice for our seniors, very nice to come in here and play like that in all phases of the game. ... and, the right guys made plays,” UNI head coach Mark Farley said. “It was very fulfilling, I thought, to end the regular season the way we did tonight.”

Eli Dunne threw his 49th and 50 career touchdown passes, and Marcus Weymiller rushed for 91 yards and two scores to pace the offense.

But the story of the day was a defense that held Missouri State under 100 total yards for the first three quarters and did something that no Panther defense has accomplished in 47 years.

“That was a good way to go out,” Weymiller said. “Putting up points on the board, and seeing the shutout by the defense. That is always fun when we can control a game like that and everyone is playing well on both sides of the ball.”

The shutout was UNI’s third of the season, marking the first time the Panthers have accomplished that feat since 1971 when they beat South Dakota State (23-0), South Dakota (8-0) and Augustana (17-0) at the Division II level in the North Central Conference.

Earlier this season, UNI shut out Hampton (44-0) and Indiana State (33-0) in back-to-back weeks in September.

“That is real impressive,” Farley said. “The shutouts are hard to get, especially in this day and age with the style offenses that are out there.”

Missouri State three times had chances to score, but Duncan Ferch stopped one of the drives with an interception and 62-yard return that set up a Weymiller touchdown run.

Late in the game, the Bears got inside the UNI 10 twice, but on a fourth-down play, Elerson Smith sacked Dalton Hill. And again, with under 15 seconds to go, Smith sacked Hill on another fourth-down play to preserve the shutout.

“That is expected in this program. UNI is known for its defense,” senior defensive end Rickey Neal said.

Leading 20-0 at halftime, UNI took its opening drive of the third quarter 76 yards in nine plays with Weymiller scoring on a one-yard run, and the Panthers basically walked to victory.

UNI outgained the Bears, 375-222, with 130 of those Missouri State yards coming in the fourth quarter against Panther reserves.

Now UNI will sit and await its fate with the FCS playoff selection show set to air at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN Sunday.

“We have put together some really quality wins,” Weymiller said. “We just didn’t want to win this game, but we wanted to win it big and that is what we did.

“We did everything we could do for this week, so hopefully the committee sees that.”

UNI was in control from the start.

A.J. Allen recovered a Peyton Huslig fumble on the first play of the game, and UNI turned that into an Austin Errthum 34-yard field goal.

Dunne then threw touchdown passes of 16 yards to Jaylin James and 27 to Jalen Rima with 3:43 left in the second quarter to make it 17-0.

A Korby Sander interception set up a 43-yard Errthum field goal with 30 seconds to go.

Missouri State had just 81 yards in the first half as its nine first-half possessions ended with five punts, two lost fumbles, an interception and then the half.

“It was just a good day,” said Dunne, whose 50 career touchdown passes rank fifth all-time in UNI history.

UNI 37, Missouri St. 0

Missouri St. 0 0 0 0 — 0

N. Iowa 10 10 7 10 — 37

First quarter

UNI — FG Errthum 34, 13:26. (Drive: 4 plays, 9 yards, 1:26).

UNI — James 16 pass from Dunne, 9:28. (Drive: 3 plays, 20 yards, 1:18).

Second quarter

UNI — Rima 27 pass from Dunne, 3:43. (Drive: 12 plays, 88 yards, 5:27).

UNI — FG Errthum 43, :30 (Drive: 10 plays, 37 yards, 2:37).

Third quarter

UNI — Weymiller 1 run (Errthum kick), 11:01. (Drive: 9 plays, 76 yards, 3:59).

Fourth quarter

UNI — FG Errthum 27, 14:56. (Drive: 12 plays, 43 yards, 6:03).

UNI — Weymiller 1 run (Errthum kick), 10:17. (Drive: 4 plays, 13 yards, 1:53).

TEAM STATISTICS

MS UNI

First downs 9 23

Rushes-yards 39-111 43-148

Passing yards 111 227

Comp-att-int 6-19-2 23-34-0

Return yards (-2) 70

Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0

Punts-avg. 7-44.0 3-36.0

Penalties-yards 4-45 4-45

Time of possession 24:31 35:29

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

MISSOURI ST. — Randall 15-55, Wilson 7-28, Vick 3-11, Currie 1-7, Woods 1-3, Daniels 2-2, Huslig 4-minus 3.

UNI — Weymiller 24-91, Hoosman 11-53, Phillips 1-3, T. Allen 4-3, Dunne 2-minus 2, Team 1-0.

Passing

MISSOURI ST. — Huslig 4-14-2, 72 yards, Hill 2-5-0, 39 yards.

UNI — Dunne 23-34-0, 227 yards.

Receiving

MISSOURI ST. — Vick 3-41, Currie 1-37, Murray 1-33, Randall 1-0.

UNI — Rima 4-73, James 7-70, Fossey 4-26, McShane 3-24, Weymiller 4-24, Nissen 1-10.

Tackles (solo-ast-total)

MISSOURI ST. — Garbutt 3-8-11, Beshore 3-8-11, Egbim 2-9-11, Carter 4-3-7, Rush 4-2-6, Henderson 2-3-5, Ellis 1-4-5, Sanders 2-2-4, Wall 1-3-4, Hulse 1-3-4, Sutton 1-3-4, Joseph 1-2-3, McClellan 0-3-3, Lovelace 1-2-3, Washington 1-2-3, Martin 0-2-2, Becton 2-0-2, Worsham 0-1-1, Jackson 1-0-1, Masoner 0-1-1, turner 1-0-1, Johnson 0-1-1.

UNI — Sander 1-12-13, Lambert 1-11-12, Wells 0-6-6, Jegen 2-3-5, A.J. Allen 1-4-5, Ferch 1-4-5, Suntken 0-5-5, Douglas 0-5-5, Neal 1-2-3, Hadachek 0-3-3, Smith 3-0-3, S. Thomas 0-3-3, Flater 1-1-2, Kibby 0-2-2, Mooney 1-0-1, Nimmers 1-0-1, Brekke 0-1-1, Grimes 0-1-1, Applegate 0-1-1, Team 1-0-1.

Tackles for loss

MISSOURI ST. — Garbutt 1.5-4, Egbim 1.5-4, Rush 1-2, Lovelace 1-1, Becton 1-4, Carter 0.5-1, Joseph 0.5-0, McZClellan 0.5-0, Washington 0.5-3.

UNI — Smith 3-15, Neal 1-8.

Sacks

MISSOURI ST. — Garbutt 0.5-2, Washington 0.5-3.

UNI — Smith 2-13, Neal 1-8.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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