Turnovers Costly In Coyotes Loss At Northern Iowa
Panthers Upend USD 34-29
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa—South Dakota, a team that had turned the ball over four times all season, committed four turnovers – three in the fourth quarter – to hand UNI a 34-29 win Saturday inside the UNI-Dome.
Leading 23-20 with less than nine minutes to go, the Coyotes threw an interception in the end zone on a play inside the 5-yard line. USD forced a punt, but fumbled with three minutes left to setup the Panthers on the 11. UNI running back Marcus Weymiller ran in from there to give the Panthers a 27-23 lead, and Keelon Brookins’ pick-six with 2:23 left sealed the come-from-behind victory.
South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler passed for 401 yards and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard jump ball to Dakarai Allen with 11 seconds left for the final score of the game. Tight end Josh Hale caught six passes for 151 yards and completed the first drive of the game with a 16-yard touchdown catch.
South Dakota (7-2, 4-2 MVFC) outgained UNI 490-283, but settling for three field goals inside the red zone and the four turnovers were the difference. The Panthers (5-4, 4-2) mustered just 55 yards on the ground on 35 attempts. Four sacks by the Coyote defense aided those efforts. UNI quarterback Eli Dunne completed 14 of 24 passes for 228 yards.
“I thought our kids played really hard and they played to win,” said USD head coach Bob Nielson. “The turnovers aren’t things we normally do, but UNI is a really good football team. If you don’t play your very best, you’re going to get beat.”
South Dakota did not punt until the third quarter, but led just 16-13 at the half. Credit the Panther defense, which surrendered three straight 60-yard drives in the first half, but forced field goals. Coyote kicker Ryan Weese, who had made three 3-pointers all season, was good from 32, 24 and 33 yards in just the second quarter.
The Coyote defense forced a punt on the opening drive of the second half, and the offense marched 46 yards in just four plays to extend the lead to 23-13. Brett Samson, a redshirt freshman tight end, lined up in the backfield and took a handoff from Streveler 11 yards to paydirt. It was his first collegiate carry and third straight game with a touchdown.
Dunne’s second touchdown of the game, a 4-yard strike to Isaiah Weston on third down, made it 23-20 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Weston also hauled in a 59-yard bomb from Dunne in the first half. He finished with three catches for 62 yards and two scores.
The Panthers’ top receiver, Daurice Fountain, was held to one catch for 21 yards, but tight end Briley Moore caught five passes for a career-best 100 yards to pick up the slack. Weymiller, who had averaged 124 yards in his last three games, finished with 69 yards on 24 carries.
UNI’s win, coupled with South Dakota State’s win against North Dakota State Saturday, creates a four-way tie for second place in the Valley standings at 4-2 with two weeks to go. The Coyotes take on first-place NDSU next Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota.
-Recap Courtesy USD Athletics