The UNI football team spoiled the debut of new Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, coming from behind to win in Ames Saturday 25-20.
The Panthers forced two fourth-quarter interceptions after taking the lead with 2:49 to play in the game. UNI coach Mark Farley said it was a great team win.
“I’m very proud of this football team and how they persevered, but basically how they prepared,” Farley says, “how they prepared for this game and how they prepared for this season really showed up out there. They endured and
preserved in a lot of things that happened out there and had the confidence to finish what they started.”
A big series in the game came at the end of the first half as UNI had the ball at the two yard line and was ready to kick a field goal to trail by one at the half.
The Panthers decided to go for it after a Cyclone time out and quarterback Aaron Bailey scored to give them a 16-13 halftime lead. “Sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice. We felt it — you know it was just one of those feelings you feel in your gut — you can’t deny it. I’m very happy we did that,” Bailey said.
Farley said having Bailey running the offense made it an easier call. “When you tell the team the things that we tell them — that we needed to come down here and be the aggressor — and with a young football team they tend believe in themselves if you believe in them …it was a call that I felt needed to be made,
because with a young football team I felt it could really ignite some things that could happen and I think that was a part of the win,” according to Farley.
Defensive lineman Karter Schult set up the offensive series by tackling ISU quarterback Joel Lanning in the end zone and forcing a safety that gave them the ball. “It only takes one play to change the game…what happened happened and I think momentum really swung on our side,” according toSchult.
Schult is from Tripoli and beating an in-state rival was important to him. “For me it’s huge, being from Iowa and having grown up around these three universities. It’s like beating up your big brother if you want to call it that. Saying ‘hey we’re not the little guy, we can compete with anybody in the nation.’ For me personally being from Iowa it means a lot to me,” Schult said.
Wide receiver Alan Lazzard made a touchdown catch to put the Cyclones up one with seven minutes to play, but a fumble and two interceptions helped UNI get the lead back and preserve the win.
“It’s very disappointing knowing that we left a lot of plays out there, also turned the ball over a lot as well. We just know that you can’t do that,” Lazzard said. Lazzard said they can’t dwell on the loss. He said you have to have a short memory after every game and can’t get to down n yourself whether you win or lose.
For UNI quarterback Bailey, the game signaled a change in the offense that had problems last season. “We have an identity,” Bailey said. “We had a lot of questions last year within the offense. The defense was already there because it was an older defense. We had a lot of questions and this off season we wanted to make sure those questions became periods”
Bailey finished the game with 128 yards rushing and one touchdown to go along with 135 yards passing and one touchdown and no interceptions.
The Panthers host Montana next week, while the Cyclones face another in-state game at Iowa.