FARGO, N.D. -- The No. 2-ranked University of Northern Iowa football team dropped a Missouri Valley Football Conference game at No. 3-ranked North Dakota State on Saturday afternoon, 27-19.
Senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie completed 20-of-30 passes for 224 yards and one interception. Redshirt freshman David Johnson led all receivers in the contest with a career-high 10 catches for 114 yards and one touchdown.
Senior linebacker and Buck Buchanan Award candidate L.J. Fort recorded 15 total tackles to lead the Panther defense. Jordan Smith tallied 13 stops for UNI and Wilmot Wellington posted a career-high nine tackles.
UNI (6-2, 5-1 MVFC) claimed the early lead on a 22-yard Tyler Sievertsen field goal with 12:21 left in the first quarter. NDSU responded with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that ended in a six-yard touchdown run from D.J. McNorton, giving the Bison a 7-3 lead with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter.
After the UNI offense was forced to punt, NDSU put together a 16-play, 60-yard drive that used up 9:16 off the clock and resulted in a 37-yard field goal by Ryan Jastram. With 7:50 left in the second quarter, NDSU led 10-3.
UNI strung together an eight-play, 81-yard drive that featured a 46-yard completion from Tirrell Rennie to Chad Owens. The drive ended in a two-yard touchdown run by David Johnson to knot the game at 10-10 with 5:11 remaining before halftime.
NDSU marched down the field once more, and Brock Jensen hit McNorton for an eight-yard scoring strike with only 55 seconds left in the second quarter, putting the Bison back on top, 17-10.
As time expired in the first half, Sievertsen converted a 48-yard field goal to cut the margin to 17-13.
Late in the third quarter, NDSU forced a fumble by UNI running back David Johnson deep in Panther territory, and Bison defensive lineman Kyle Emanuel scooped it up and carried it in for the score from three yards out. At the 1:09 mark of the third quarter, NDSU led 24-13.
After an injury to Rennie forced redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Lanpher into the game, Lanpher converted a key fourth-and-two situation and later hit Johnson for a 16-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Panthers to within 24-19 with 6:51 left in the game. A two-point conversion pass attempt fell incomplete.
NDSU (8-0, 5-0, MVFC) added a late 41-yard field goal by Jastram to stretch its lead back to 27-19. UNI drove to its own 45-yard line before Lanpher was intercepted by John Pike to seal the victory for the Bison.
Rennie's streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception ended at 171 with a third-quarter pick by NDSU's John Pike.
UNI will return home on Sat., Nov. 5, for a game against Youngstown State. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. in the UNI-Dome.