YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – What a difference a week made for the Northern Iowa football team.
Despite multiple different practice facilities, the fifth-ranked Panthers (1-1) showed huge gains on both sides of the ball in a dominant 21-0 victory over Youngstown State at Stambaugh Stadium Saturday.
A week after a last-second loss South Dakota State to open the season, the Panthers rushed the ball effectively, moved it at will and the defense was stout for 60 minutes as UNI won in Youngstown for the first time since 2010 snapping a three-game losing streak at the Ice Castle.
“It was a just good overall day for our football team and a great win,” UNI head coach Mark Farley said.
Fifth-ranked Northern Iowa travels to Youngstown State Saturday for a 11 a.m. kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium where the Panthers have not won at since 2010.
Dom Williams had a pair of fourth quarter touchdown run as the Panther run game combined for 191 rushing yards a week after netting just 28 against SDSU.
Tyler Hoosman, who missed the opener with an injury led the team with 68 yards on 12 carries.
“What we did today in the rushing game is how you win games on the road,” added Farley who became the first coach Missouri Valley Football Conference history to win 100 conference games.
“It all started with Tyler,” Williams added. “He lit a whole fire under the backs. The O-line working hard even though we had people out. They stepped up and were playmakers like we know they are.”
The production came behind an offensive line that had three new starters and the two returning starters playing different positions.
“Very pleased with rushing the football today and it started with the offensive line,” Farley said. “Had to establish that group as much as the confidence within that group and all the things that they have been through. Those five along with our tight ends and running backs did a great job of rushing the ball and in essence opened up the passing game for us.
“I would be shortsighted not to mention some of the catches that were made by Deion (McShane) and Quan (Hampton) and some of the throws Will (McElvain) made.”
Will McElvain passed for 183 yards to give UNI a balanced attack. Quan Hampton led the team with 5 catches for 74 yards.
Defensively, the Panthers were lights out as Youngstown State averaged just 3.1 yards per play. In 43 total plays, the Penguins managed just 135 yards, including just 64 passing.
Sophomore defensive tackle Khristian Boyd had seven tackles, including 2 1/2 for loss and two sacks as UNI racked up seven TFLs and three sacks.
“We came with a good defensive game plan and our defensive backs played a pretty good game, too,” Boyd said. “They gave us time to get back there and we executed pretty good.”
Spencer Cuevlier led the team with 11 tackles.
UNI lead 6-0 at halftime on field goals of 32 and 41 yards by Matthew Cook.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched 61 yards in 15 plays with a nice mixture of passing and running to set up Cook’s first make from 32. That drive took 6:37 off the clock.
Then after a couple of punts, UNI drove 61 yards again, this time it took 14 plays and 7:07 off the clock resulting in the 42-yard good attempt.
Meanwhile, UNI’s defense limited the Penguins to just 45 total yards while the Panthers racked up 217 in the first half.
“We were kind of upset about last week, but instead of pointing fingers and blaming people, we just put the work in. Put our heads down and grinded,” Boyd said. “We came up with a good game plan and executed it pretty well and yeah, it was pretty good.”
FLATER OUT: Farley announced on his pre-game radio show that all-American linebacker Bryce Flater is out for the season with an undisclosed injury that will require surgery.
Farley said the good news is Flater will be ready to go when the fall season begins in August.
Redshirt junior Riley Van Wyhe started in place of Flater who led the Panthers with 143 tackles in 2019.
Van Wyhe recorded nine tackles, including one for loss.
“I don’t know what I’m allowed to say, and we are not here to hide anything it is just what we are allowed to and not allowed to say,” Farley said. “Flater is leading tackler on our football team and is a lot of the energy that is instilled on our defense. He will get that fixed and be back for the fall.
“I tell you what, Riley Van Wyhe took advantage of an opportunity today and played a heck of a football game.”
LINE RECONFIGURATION: Only two of the players who started on the offensive line against South Dakota State last week started Saturday.
And neither of those two players started in the same position.
UNI went with Antoine Frazier at left tackle. Matthew VanderSlice at left guard, Chase Arends at center, Jared Penning at right guard and Tristan Roper at right tackle.
Frazier started last week at right tackle, and Penning opened at left guard.
Arends, a redshirt sophomore who prepped at Dike-New Hartford, was behind Mason Neisen and Erik Sorensen on the depth chart to open the season.
“You got to credit the coaches and you got to credit the players,” Farley said. “It was a mix and match all week and really finalized the group yesterday. Just trying to find the best pairing and how to fit them together and what they were good at.
“There is no question they went out their today and played well together.”
UNI 21, YSU 0
Northern Iowa 3 3 0 15 — 21
Youngstown St. 0 0 0 0 — 0
UNI – Cook 32 FG, 8:23. (Scoring drive: 15 plays, 61 yards, 6:37.)
UNI – Cook 41 FG, 5:35. (Scoring drive: 14 plays, 61 yards, 7:07).
UNI – Williams 2 run (Cook kick), 13:48. (Scoring drive: 11 plays, 57 yards, 5:05).
UNI – Williams 1 run (McShane pass from McElvain), 7:28. (Scoring drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 4:26).
First downs 23 9
Rushes-yards 43-191 24-71
Passing 183 64
Comp-Att-Int 15-30-1 15-19-0
Return Yards 4 42
Punts-Avg. 3-38.3 7-35.6
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalty-Yards 8-50 3-25
Time of Possession 33:51 26:09
RUSHING—N. Iowa, Ty. Hoosman 12-68, Wi. McElvain 7-38, Do. Williams 15-35, Qu. Hampton 2-24, Tr. Carlson 6-21, De. McShane 1-5. Youngstown St., Ja. McLaughlin 8-38, Ma. Waid 9-37, Lo. Pearson 4-0, Ch. Turner 1-0, Team 1-(minus 1), Jo. Craycraft 1-(minus 3).
PASSING—N. Iowa, Wi. McElvain 15-30-1-183. Youngstown St., Ma. Waid 8-10-0-33, Jo. Craycraft 7-9-0-31.
RECEIVING—N. Iowa, Qu. Hampton 5-74, De. McShane 3-38, Sa. Schnee 2-23, Is. Weston 2-23, Ky. Fourtenbary 2-13, Do. Williams 1-12. Youngstown St., Ja. Benio 4-41, Na. Payne 2-9, Lo. Pearson 3-7, Ch. Turner 2-6, Ma. Mbodj 1-5, Ja. Coates 1-3, Ja. McLaughlin 1-(minus 1), Dr. Rushton 1-(minus 6).
NORTHERN IOWA – Cuvelier 3-8-11, Van Whye 7-2-9, Boyd 5-2-7, Mooney 2-3-5, Evans 3-1-4, Sapp 2-2-4, Wells 2-1-3, Sander 1-2-3, Brinkman 0-2-2, Brown 1-0-1, Houghtelling 1-0-1, Brekke 1-0-1, Lambert 0-1-1.
YOUNGSTOWN ST. – Gentile 3-6-9, Jakubeck 5-3-8, Hoak 5-2-7, Dixon 5-2-7, Martin 5-0-5, Jones 2-3-5, Minenok 4-0-4, Madison 2-1-3, Newell 2-1-3, Howard 1-2-3, Turner 2-0-2, Cook 2-0-2, White 1-1-2.