No. 5 UNI Rallies to Defeat Southern Utah, 34-21
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Monday 11/12/2011
The No. 5-ranked University of Northern Iowa football team rattled off 27 unanswered points and held Southern Utah scoreless in the second half to pull out a 34-21 victory on Saturday evening in the UNI-Dome.

Trailing 21-7 with just under 13 minutes left in the first half, the Panthers would outscore the Thunderbirds 27-0 over the final 43 minutes of the contest.

UNI (8-2, 6-1 MVFC) racked up a season-high 284 yards rushing and 410 yards of total offense.

Southern Utah (5-5, 1-3 GWC) had 287 passing yards and 352 yards of total offense, but the Thunderbirds went 2-of-4 in red zone scoring opportunities, including an interception in the endzone and a missed 22-yard field goal attempt.

UNI senior quarterback Tirrell Rennie returned to his starting role after missing one game due to injuries. Rennie completed 10-of-16 passes for 126 yards and rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Junior running back Carlos Anderson led the Panthers' ground game, rushing for 115 yards on only 11 carries. Redshirt freshman David Johnson had 82 yards on 14 carries. Senior linebacker L.J. Fort recorded the first two carries of his collegiate career, with each resulting in a one-yard touchdown run.

Junior Terrell Sinkfield had four receptions for 83 yards, and junior Garrett Scott led the Panther defense with 13 tackles and one interception.

Southern Utah scored on its opening possession, putting together a 14-play, 60-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Austin Minefee. With 9:20 left in the first quarter, SUU led UNI 7-0.

UNI responded with a one-yard touchdown plunge by L.J. Fort at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7.

Minefee returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, putting SUU back on top 14-7. The Thunderbirds stretched their lead to 21-7 when quarterback Brad Sorenson rushed in for a score from one yard out with 12:57 left in the first half.

SUU would not score again, as UNI put together 27 unanswered points, starting with a four-yard touchdown run by Rennie and 41-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen in the second quarter. Junior cornerback Varmah Sonie intercepted an SUU pass in the endzone in the final minute of the first half, holding the halftime score at 21-17 in favor of SUU.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, UNI marched 79 yards on six plays, and Rennie put the Panthers on top 24-21 with a 16-yard touchdown scamper.

Fort added his second rushing touchdown of the game with 0:13 left in the third quarter, stretching the UNI lead to 31-21. Sievertsen tacked on a 43-yard field goal with 2:39 left in the game to put the final margin at 34-21.

Garrett Scott intercepted Sorenson with 2:08 left in the game to seal the victory.

Senior defensive linemen Ben Boothby and Darren Branch each recorded two sacks, as the Panthers posted a total of six sacks on the night -- their best mark of the season.

UNI will travel to Illinois State for its final regular season game on Sat., Nov. 19. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
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