By Jake Bemis, correspondent
CEDAR FALLS — It was a new quarterback, new running back, and new results for Northern Iowa.
Playing without injured starters Sawyer Kollmorgen and David Johnson, the Panthers still managed to upset No. 8 Youngstown State, 22-20, Saturday.
The Panthers, who trailed 20-19 late in the fourth quarter, were led on a four-minute, 41-second drive by quarterback Brion Carnes to set up Cedar Rapids native Tyler Sievertsen with a 34-yard field goal attempt as regulation ended.
“I just wanted to go out there, execute plays and just have fun,” Carnes said. “I had some nerves, but once I started going it just felt like heaven out there.”
Sievertsen lined up to kick three times before finally taking the snap as YSU called back-to-back timeouts to try to ice the UNI kicker. Sievertsen hit the 34-yarder, which sent his team chasing him across the field to celebrate.
“I’ve had experience with that situation before,” Sivertsen said about the timeouts. “It’s nothing different. It’s a kick. It’s what I’m trained to do.”
Sievertsen, a Cedar Rapids Kennedy graduate, moved into sixth place on UNI’s all-time scoring list with his second of three field goals.
The Panthers trailed 14-6 heading into the final quarter but scored twice on touchdown passes from Carnes to Chad Owens. It was the first time UNI had found the end zone since Oct. 26.
“We just had to come out with some energy and fire,” Carnes said. “That was our deal for the second half — to come out and make plays. That’s what we did.”
The special teams unit blocked a punt and set UNI’s offense up at the YSU 14-yard line for its first touchdown
The win was the Panthers’ first in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season and snaps a five-game losing streak, the team’s longest skid since 1978.“It’s been a long time,” Coach Mark Farley said. “I’m very happy for our team. It was just great to see them sing the fight song, celebrate and get the win in the end.”