VERMILLION, SD – The Panthers put down an offensive clinic at the DakotaDome on Saturday, beating South Dakota 58-14.
In the regular-season final, UNI missed just a touchdown to set a new first-half scoring record with an explosive offense. In the first half alone, the Panthers had seven touchdowns, 418 yards of offense and two recovered turnovers. When UNI won the game 58-14, they had their best offensive effort with 593 total offensive yards.
quarterback Theo day set a career-high passing yard for 380 yards against the Coyotes and had 21 completions on 31 attempts. Day threw five touchdowns to five different receivers for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Sergio Morancy led all receivers with 135 yards to four catches with one touchdown Vance McShane was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 94 yards and 14 carries.
HOW IT HAPPENED
UNI hit the gas early and scored the first of seven touchdowns on the first drive of the day. After a long completion Sergio Morancy, Day made a short seven-yard pass to sophomore tight end Layne Prior for his first career touchdown. The Panthers soon found themselves back on offense as defense forced the Coyotes to a second straight four and out.
The tag reconnected with Morancy on the second drive, taking just four games to find a hole. The sophomore went in a 36-yard pass and punched his defender just past the five-yard line. UNI scored a touchdown on each of their first six drives and didn’t have to score for a third of the second quarter.
Two of the Panthers scoring drives came from turnovers in South Dakota. During the first ride of the second quarter Woo governor scored his fourth goal of the season after finding the ball in wide field in the middle of the field. Back defensively just two drives later Damien Crumitie forced his first fumble as a Panther from Coyote running back Travis Theis. The ball was then scooped by Cameron Baker for his first career fumble recovery.
All of UNI’s touchdowns would come in the first half during kickers Matthew Koch scored three field goals in the third quarter. Cook’s first field goal of the game, a 26-yarder in the fourth minute of the quarter, put him at 65 all-time leading in UNI and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Cook finishes the season with 14 field goals scored and 67 career field goals with an additional year of eligibility.
With a 58-7 lead and less than a quarter to go, the Panthers traded a handful of starters, including Day. Both in the last 14 minutes Aidan Dunne and Matt Morrissey got looks at the quarterback while Terence Kamara and Josh Jenkins played snaps at wide receiver and running back. UNI had the ball for the final drive of the game and opted to end in a winning formation when Morrissey took a knee in the final two games of the season.
- It was a day of firsts when two Panthers had their first touchdowns (Layne Pryor and Noah abbot), and two Panthers had their first turnovers (Damien Crumitie; forced fumbling, and Cameron Baker; fiddly recovery).
- With 380 passing yards today and 3,121 this season Theo day now has the fifth-best straight season in Panther history. He sits just behind Mike Smith, who had 3,125 passing yards during the 1986 campaign. The day’s passing record also puts him in the top 10 for pass completions and passing touchdowns.
- This was the seventh game this season that the Panthers had a different player score on every touchdown. But Saturday’s game had the most offensive touchdowns of the season with seven.
HIGH NEXTUNI learns its post-season fate on Sunday afternoon during the FCS Playoff Selection Show. If the Panthers make the FCS playoffs as an at-large bid, they would play next weekend. The selection show is scheduled for 11:30 am CT on ESPNU.