No. 19 Northern Iowa Runs Past Illinois State, 42-14
Oct. 23, 2010
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Despite sophomore wide receiver Tyrone Walker's career day, the Illinois State football team (4-4, 3-3 MVFC) fell to Missouri Valley Football Conference rival Northern Iowa (4-3, 3-1 MVFC) Saturday evening, 42-14, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Walker recorded five catches for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Erik Smith had 11 carries for 36 yards. Sophomore quarterback Matt Brown threw for 152 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore Matt Lancaster tallied 93 yards in the air and one touchdown. On the defensive side, sophomore Nick Broome set new-career highs with eight tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack against the Panthers. Senior Bo Flowers set a new-career high with six solo stops and a tackle-for-loss.
Northern Iowa quickly got on the board after, Tirrell Rennie found Josh Collins on the far side of the field for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good, giving UNI a 7-0 lead with 12:20 remaining in the first quarter. Senior E.J. Jones picked off Rennie's pass during Northern Iowa's second possession to get a much-needed stop for the Redbirds. It was Jones' sixth interception of the season, which put him in a tie for fourth place on the all-time interception list at ISU.
Northern Iowa ended the first quarter like they started it. Rennie rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to increase UNI's lead to 14-0 with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Defense played a large part in the second quarter of the game, as neither team was able to put any points on the board.
With Lancaster running the offense, the Redbirds put together an impressive drive at the end of the second quarter. The 14-play drive started with 9:18 left in the half and took over seven minutes off the clock. The drive was lengthened thanks to a bit of trickery from the Redbirds. Facing a fourth-and-three situation on the UNI 26-yard line, ISU faked a field goal and holder Lancaster flipped the snap over his shoulder to senior Steven Fetzer, who ran for the first down.
Illinois State had one chance to get on the board later in that drive with a fourth-and-five from the UNI 16-yard line, but Fetzer's field goal was blocked by UNI's Henry Obi with 11 seconds left in the first half. The Panthers took a knee to end the quarter and took a 14-0 advantage into the locker room at the half.
With 7:22 left in the third quarter, the Redbirds got on the board after sophomore Brown connected with Walker in the end zone cutting UNI's lead in half, 14-7. The Panthers did not waste any time getting the points back, as Rennie added another six points to UNI's total on an 11-yard rush play that gave Northern Iowa a 21-7 advantage with 3:48 left in the third quarter.
On ISU's next possession, Brown was looking for junior Ashton Leggett, but the pass was intercepted by UNI's Andre Martin, who ran it back for a Panther touchdown to extend the UNI lead to 28-7 over ISU with 1:20 left in the third quarter. On Illinois State's ensuing drive, Brown was intercepted by UNI's Garrett Scott, which ended the third quarter.
Rennie continued his strong performance, as he broke through the middle and scored on a 47-rush play with 13:40 left in the fourth quarter lengthening UNI's lead, 35-7. The Redbirds answered back immediately, as Lancaster connected with Walker for an 80-yard touchdown pass making the score 35-14 with 13:20 left in the game.
Rennie capped off the day and scored his fourth rushing touchdown on a one-yard run with 6:32 left in the game. The run completed a 12-play drive that covered 59 yards and took almost seven minutes off the clock. Illinois State was not able to produce any more points in their final possession and fell to UNI, 42-12.
Illinois State will travel to Western Illinois Saturday October 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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