Northern Iowa took advantage of an interception, botched extra point attempt, a fumbled punt, and missed field goal to pull out to a 17-6 halftime lead over Iowa State, and then never let the Cyclones get back into the ballgame, winning 24-13 . It was the first win over the Cyclones since 1994, and snapped a string of five losses by the Panthers.
U-N-I coach Mark Farley was an assistant coach the last time the Panthers won in Ames, and says it was even better watching the win as the head coach. Farley says being a U-N-I alum makes him very proud and seeing all the fans coming onto the field also made it special.
A key play came near the end of the first half when the Panthers went for it on 4th down and two and made the first down. Farley says he went back to last year’s close loss to I-S-U in deciding to not try a field goal. Farley says there was a time in last year’s game where he didn’t go for it and it always nagged at him after they lost.
The Panthers also led at halftime last year, but couldn’t hold off the I-S-U rally. Farley says this year was different. He says they said they were going to keep their poise whether they were up or down at halftime. Farley says they knew the Cyclones were going to make a run and last year the crowd help them make that run, but this year his team held up. "It’s a good day," Farley says.
Farley says the Appalachian State upset of Michigan was something that motivated them. Farley says they gauge themselves on what happens in 1-AA football, and they felt they had to win against I-S-U to keep pace with Applachian State.
Cyclone coach Gene Chizik is still looking for his first victory and said the loss was disappointing, though there were some good things. Chizik says if there were any positives, the team not quitting and never fighting down to the end was one. Chizik says they did all the things again that make you lose football games and he says it’s the job of the coaches, starting with him to correct those things.
One key mistake was a fumbled punt in the first half that led to a short field and a U-N-I touchdown. Chizik says that was a critical error that hurt them and then he said the kicking game with a fumbled snap on an extra point and a missed field goal was a "comedy of errors." Chizik says they are going to "have to review the people in those positions and figure out how we can better ourselves." He says there were plenty of other areas to work on too.
He says U-N-I had a running back rush for 140 yards, which is unacceptable, and an 18-play drive in the second quarter. Chizik says U-N-I has a great football team and did a great job, "But in the same sense, I think we stubbed our toe in a lot of different ways as well."
A Jack Trice Stadium record crowd of 56-thousand-795 watched the game — breaking the record set last year for the UNI-ISU game in Ames. The Cyclones host Iowa next Saturday, while U-N-I is at South Dakota State.