Five takeaways from UNI’s regular season finale against South Dakota

ETHAN PETRIC

1.) Biggest first quarter in UNI history?: I can’t imagine Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley could have asked for a better start from the Panthers. The UNI defense forced three-and-outs on all four of South Dakota’s drives in the first quarter, allowing only 22 yards of attack. Meanwhile, Theo Day and the UNI offense got everything they wanted against a struggling Coyotes secondary with 256 passing yards and three touchdowns. UNI needed style points to show the FCS playoff committee they belonged in the postseason and delivered in the first 15 minutes of action.

2.) Sergio Morancy as electrifying as they come: For a while it looked like Alex Allen would be the target for UNI’s red zone. Then it was Sam Snow. However, as the UNI season draws to a close, second-year receiver Sergio Morancy remains. The sophomore star entered the game with Desmond Hutson to take the team lead by receiving touchdowns with five. All Morancy did in the first half was four passes for 135 yards and a touchdown to establish himself as one of UNI’s most dangerous deep threats in recent memory.

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3.) Style points galore: In the absence of a marquee win, and probably not a win over the South Dakota Coyotes 3-7 either, UNI still managed to make a statement to the FCS playoff committee. The Panthers’ playoff chances are slim, but they proved to be an exciting addition to the playoffs, flexing their muscles on defense with five three-and-outs in the first half and showing off their strong offense in all its glory .

4.) UNI used to require Utah Tech: UNI’s early struggles are hard to miss when considering how the 2022 season could have gone. Early losses to North Dakota and No. 2 Sacramento State cast doubt on UNI’s playoff hopes for the remainder of the season. Judging by how UNI has played since the 41-14 win over Utah Tech, it’s easy to see how the Panthers could have used the Trailblazers as a “proper game” in week two of the season rather than face the fight against hawks. However, that’s not why the cookie crumbled and UNI made its move when it happened. UNI and Panthers fans can only hold their breath and hope the FCS playoff committee takes note of what happened in Vermillion on Saturday.

5.) South Dakota looking for answers: South Dakota got off to a rocky start, scoring just seven points in the first two weeks of the season. The Coyotes quickly switched to Ted Schlafke as the caller for offensive play and enjoyed a resurgence two weeks into the Voting Receiving category after an upset 27-24 win over then-No. 14 Southern Illinois. However, after failing to get up for senior night and falling to 3-8 for the season, South Dakota ends its first season with questions about offense, including quarterback.

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