CEDAR FALLS – The University of Northern Iowa used its own kryptonite to take down Missouri Valley Football Conference leading South Dakota State University. In a season where turnovers have plagued the Panthers, UNI forced two — one interception and one fumble recovery — which lead to ten points in a 27-6 victory on homecoming weekend.
“We were hitting people finally. We were hitting the way UNI football needs to hit people,” Coach Mark Farley said. “We got after them. There were some good collisions out there, and we got the ball knocked away because of the collisions.
Quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen threw for 187 yards on 13 completions, including two first half touchdowns which gave the Panthers a two possession lead they would not look back on. It is the first time this season the redshirt freshman has failed to throw for at least 200 yards.
“It was nice having that comfortable of a lead. The defense did a great job. I’m very proud of them. They gave us a chance to win,” Kollmorgen said.
After a J.J. Swain interception early in the first quarter, Kollmorgen connected with Sam Rohr for a 40 yard touchdown to put UNI on top 7-0. On the very next drive, Brett LeMaster leaped up for a 16 yard touchdown catch to put the Panthers up by 11.
David Johnson finished the game with 121 rushing yards while SDSU running back Zach Zenner rushed for season-low 112 yards on a season-low 20 attempts. Coming into the game, Zenner was the leading rusher in the nation, averaging 208 rushing yards per game.
“I think it all starts with the (defensive) lineman and winning the line of scrimmage. I thought we did that, and I thought we were gap sound. We got guys in the gaps where they belong,” Farley said.
“It’s a good feeling. Sometimes you just need to have to be able to sing the fight song, and have the feeling of the success of all the work they’ve put in.”
The Panthers will try to retain the spoiler role next week when they host Illinois State University in Cedar Falls.