Sluggish Panthers Fall in Overtime to Southern Illinois
By Scott Westerberg and Jake Bemis, Reporters
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Northern Iowa scored two touchdowns in eight plays Saturday to erase a 14-point deficit, but Southern Illinois rallied to defeat the Panthers in overtime, 24-17.
The Salukis had an opportunity to win it in regulation but missed a 30-yard field goal as the game ended.
On its first possession in over, SIU running back Malcolm Agnew scored on a 5-yard touchdown to put the Salukis up by seven points. Northern Iowa (4-2, 0-2 MVFC) was then stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the 16-yard line to end the game.
UNI trailed 14-0 at halftime and still did midway through the third quarter.
But that changed when defensive back Ray Mitchell intercepted a Kory Faulkner pass at the UNI 8-yard line to set up an unconventional UNI touchdown. Mitchell returned the interception to the SIU 39-yard line before he fumbled the ball. Deiondre’ Hall scooped up the fumble at the 29 and took it to the end zone for UNI’s first points.
“I was just waiting and waiting (for that route) and when it finally came I executed,” Mitchell said.
Less than three minutes later, Sawyer Kollmorgen connected with Kevin Vereen on a 52-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 14.
The teams then exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers, who have now lost two games in a row, were held to 235 yards while giving up 451 yards to the Salukis (4-3, 2-1).
“We weren’t the same team in the first half, and that hurt us,” UNI Coach Mark Farley said. “It gave (SIU) a 14-point lead. We tried to battle back, but we didn’t do a good enough job in that first half.”
UNI running back David Johnson was held to 19 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Time of possession was heavily weighted in favor of the Salukis. The Panthers had possession for just under 23 minutes, the Salukis more than 37.
“It’s very frustrating,” Kollmorgen said. “We couldn’t do anything offensively. We came out of halftime and finally got things going, but we can’t put our defense in a bad situation like that.”
UNI play South Dakota next Saturday.
“We need to get this team performing at the high level that it was earlier this season,” Farley said. “I’ve got to do a better job. I didn’t get them back in time this week. It was like we were a day behind, and we played a day behind today.”
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