Story and photo courtesy of Northern Iowa Athletics
MACOMB, Ill. - The University of Northern Iowa Panthers shut-out the Western Illinois Leathernecks 40-0 on Saturday for their second MVFC win of the season.
The Panthers rushed for a season high 303 total yards, with 149 of those yards coming from David Johnson. Sawyer Kollmorgen finished the game 11 for 17 with three touchdowns and 50 yards rushing.
After two quick three-and-outs by both teams on their opening drives, UNI got on the scoreboard early after a bad snap to the Western Illinois punter that resulted in a safety for the Panthers. UNI took the 2-0 lead with 11:25 left in the first quarter.
On the next offensive play for UNI, Johnson broke free for a 42-yard rush to the WIU 10-yard-line. On the next play, Kollmorgen showed his composure when he scrambled from the WIU defense and found Chad Owens in the end zone for a 10-yard pass. The Panthers took the 9-0 lead with 10:36 left in the first quarter, taking only 55 seconds off the clock.
After Mac O'Brien notched his second sack of the season and forcing the Leathernecks to punt, the Panthers added to the scoreboard with another touchdown. Carlos Anderson led the Panthers down the field with an eight-yard rush and an 11-yard reception, with Terrell Sinkfield finishing the drive with a three-yard touchdown catch to give UNI a 16-0 lead with 5:28 left in the quarter.
UNI had an unlucky turn on their next offensive drive when the Panther offense turned the ball over to WIU off an interception with 1:46 left in the quarter. The Leathernecks drove to the UNI 30-yard-line to end the first quarter.
The UNI defense continued their stingy performance, forcing the WIU offense to two quick penalties and pinning them 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage to punt the ball away to start the second quarter.
UNI fought down the field on their next offensive drive with several short yardage plays from Johnson, Anderson and Kollmorgen, including a 14-yard reception for Sinkfield to put the Panthers in WIU territory. Johnson continued driving the Panthers toward the end zone, dragging WIU defenders with him to the WIU 24-yard-line.
Sam Rohr notched his second touchdown of the season when Kollmorgen lobbed a pass over the WIU defense to a wide-open back-field for a 23-yard touchdown reception, giving the Panthers a 23-0 lead. The drive knocked 8:02 off the clock for 16 plays and 84 yards leaving 4:18 on the clock in the second quarter.
On the next WIU drive, a pass was overthrown to the running back and Garrett Scott picked up his first interception and first touchdown of the season to give the Panthers a 30-0 lead with 3:30 left in the half. The interception was the eighth of the year for the Panthers and the second for a touchdown.
Kollmorgen finished the half 10 for 15 passing with three touchdowns and 46 yards rushing. Johnson led the team on the ground with 85 yards while Sinkfield and Owens finished with a combined 32 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Johnson broke the 100-yard rushing mark early in the third quarter when he broke out of the WIU offense for a 16-yard rush. Anderson added to that with a 16-yard rush and nine-yard reception to put the Panthers in field goal range. Tyler Sievertsen knocked the 27-yard field goal through the uprights with 8:50 left in the quarter to give UNI a 33-0 lead.
After Sievertsen's kick-off, the Panther special teams pinned WIU on their own one-yard-line after a big tackle from Jalen Barnes and Dan Edem. O'Brien almost got the team another safety when he attempted to tackle the WIU running back in the end zone, but the rusher gained a yard getting out of the Panther's grasp. Jake Farley kept WIU from getting a first down with a tackle on the WIU two-yard-line, forcing Western Illinois to punt.
David Johnson scored his 13th touchdown on the next UNI drive with 6:07 left in the third quarter. Johnson's 40-yard rush gave the Panthers the 40-0 lead knocking 48 seconds off the clock for three plays and 42 yards.
WIU drove to the UNI 21-yard-line on their next drive, but Chad Gilson put serious heat on quarterback Hayden Northern. He was forced to throw the ball down field into Panther coverage for an incompletion on fourth-and-five with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
WIU forced a fumble against the Panthers on the next UNI offensive drive in the fourth quarter, giving Western Illinois the ball on the UNI 21-yard-line. The Leathernecks didn't have possession for long when Varmah Sonie picked the ball off in the back of the end zone to give the Panthers their second interception of the game.
Jared Lanpher took the reins of the Panther offense in the fourth quarter, linking up with Braden Lehman for an 18-yard pass. He handed the ball off to Anderson for a dazzling nine-yard gain where Anderson hurdled over a WIU defensive player to get the first down on the WIU 45-yard-line with 6:05 left to play.
Lanpher and the Panthers continued to run the clock down, driving down to the WIU 38-yard-line with a 49-yard punt from Bernard to end the drive. WIU was unable to produce on offense and the Panthers regained the ball to end the game.