Defensive Dominance in the Dome – UNI Beats Down Tennessee Tech 50-7

The first two games left a sour taste in the mouths of Panther fans.  Last week gave a glimpse of what could be in store for the future.  This game, started off with some nervous moments in the first quarter with drives ending on a kickers foot instead in the hands of receiver, running back or quarterback.  The second quarter was a 28-point outburst putting the game out of reach before halftime.

Panthers fans NEARLY got a cheap second pizza in the Cedar Valley at Mulligans for just a few cents, but one play means it will cost them just under a buck.

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

 

The fans went home happy.  Many left at halftime to enjoy the best tailgating weather in ages.  It was probably the last nice weekend for it and the parking lots were full of fans decked in purple.

The Good:  Umm, 50 points?  Sawyer with 200 yards of offense.  David Johnson with 142 yards of rushing in one half, and several plays off in that half, and then RESTING the entire second half.  8 receivers with receptions (didn’t someone predict that?).  The second stringers played the entire second half.  The defense was unstoppable.

Place kicker Michael Schmadeke set a UNI record with 20 points scored by a kicker and tied another with 5 field goals in the game.  Head coach Mark Farley admitted he had no idea (and neither did Schmadeke) that he was close to setting the record because he almost let the backup kick the final field goal.  A UNI timeout and a media time out (very oddly timed) meant that the record would fall.

5 sacks by the defense.  The pocket-pressure they are getting the past couple of games is very exciting, especially with conference play set to begin next Saturday.  The Valley is tough, but nobody has the depth, size and speed on defense that UNI has.  Oh and 2 first downs by Tenn Tech.  One was a rushing TD, the other, a penalty.  Only ONE first down and touchdown by TTU.  Defensive. Dominance.

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

Deiondre’ Hall with an easy interception turned into a great touchdown.  The wideout fell down, giving Hall an easy catch.  The move he made to get in the end zone will be on highlight reels for years to come.  See it here.

LeMaster finally found the end zone again.  Hopefully the first of many this season.  Video here.

SIX running backs got multiple carries (at least 3).  In Fact or Fiction it was discussed whether or not backs not named Johnson or Miller would get a chance.  Barkley Hill showed what he could do to the tune of 64 yards on 8 carries.  Hopefully he’s earned a few snaps in the future.

The Bad:  Great drives in the first quarter, especially the first one, sputtered before getting it going later in the game.  UNI got in the red zone but penalties put them at 2nd and Goal from beyond the 20.

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

This happened last year and cost the Panthers games in the middle of conference play. Ultimately keeping them out of the playoffs.

If they can start as well as they played in the second quarter on Saturday they can bury teams early and sit on the ball for the rest of the game.  The pieces are there but the execution is still lacking at times.

UNI’s defense held Tennessee Tech to TWO yards of offense until they gave up the 84-yard touchdown run.  Had they avoided that play, the Panthers would have held the Golden Eagles to single digit numbers for the game and had a shut out.

In the first half, with UNI’s true starters on the field they had more first downs 17, than Tennessee Tech had yards of offense, 16.  The backups got a lot of playing time and that will certainly prove to be valuable later in the season but also in seasons ahead.

The Ugly:   7 for 7 in the Red Zone.  4 of them were field goals.  Against a terrible Tennessee Tech team UNI settled for three instead of seven.

It was a 50-7 beat down.

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

But settling for field goals instead of touchdowns will not win games in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.  Seven of the 10 Valley teams are in the top 25.  The conference never has been, and probably never will be, deeper.  UNI has the talent to win a national title but it has to get off to better starts in the first quarter. And it has to do more in the red zone!  The long strikes for touchdowns are great and exciting for the fans.  But it does not win games over the length of a season.  This UNI defense may be the best ever, BUT it has to have time to recover.  Long drives and ball control. That is the way the Panhters can have the success we all want.

The Defense. Deserved. A shut out.