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| Analysis

Five takeaways from UNI's loss at Air Force

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1. Theo Day shows flashes in new offense Despite two first half turnovers, UNI quarterback Theo Day looked comfortable under center throughout the season opener.

Day showed poise late in the first half when hit tight end Alex Allen for a 27-yard gain on a play action pass with the Air Force pass rush collapsing the pocket.

Day finished 20-32 for 286 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception.

2. Explosive plays doomed UNI While the opening offensive possessions for UNI showed promise, they yielded only three points on a 28-yard field goal from kicker Matthew Cook.

Meanwhile, Air Force started its day with a pair of long touchdowns. An 80-yard pass from quarterback Haaziq Daniels to Dane Kinamon provided the Falcons a 7-3 lead. The Falcons built on their lead with a 71-yard Kinamon rush to take a 14-3 lead into the second quarter.

Air Force’s big play ability did not stop at the half either as the Falcons started the second half with another 71-yard touchdown rush from Brad Roberts.

An 80-yard touchdown run from sophomore Jalen Johnson on the first carry of his career capped off the scoring for Air Force with 11:13 remaining in the game.

3. Panthers offense needs to learn to finish drives The Panthers trailed 27-3 at the end of the first half. While Air Force’s early explosive plays put UNI behind the eight ball, the Panthers’ inability to finish off promising drives also played into the deficit.

In the first half, UNI drove the ball into Air Force territory on three separate drives and came away with only three points to show for it.

4. Special teams a bright spot While the Panthers’ offense and defense struggled against Air Force, UNI’s special teams—specifically punter Cael Loecher—shined.

Loecher routinely pinned Air Force inside its own 10-yard line while averaging 45.0 yards per punt.

UNI FB vs. AFA 2

Matthew Cook practices field goals ahead of the Panthers' season opening game against Air Force, Saturday.

Cook converted on his first field goal attempt from 28 yards out and recorded two touchbacks on both of his kick offs. Cook missed a 52 yard field goal late in the fourth quarter

5. Late touchdowns provide glimpse Trailing 48-3, the Panthers scored a pair of late touchdown passes.

Day completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Logan Wolf and a 14-yard score to Sergio Morancy.

While the scores were meaningless to the outcome of the game, they should provide UNI some momentum heading into North Dakota. They also provided Panther fans a look at UNI’s new red zone offense.


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