UNI Panthers

UNI takes lead at Iowa State with 53-yard fumble return: Watch

Elerson Smith, Xavior Williams team up for big play

Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell prepares for the kickoff against the Northern Iowa Panthers at Jack Trice Stadium. (Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell prepares for the kickoff against the Northern Iowa Panthers at Jack Trice Stadium. (Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports)

Northern Iowa’s upset-minded defense showed why you play to the whistle.

Elerson Smith drilled Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy on third-and-10, leading to what looked like an incomplete pass. But Xavior Williams scooped up the ball and brought it 53 yards to the end zone as play continued.

The officials ruled it a touchdown and it was upheld after a review.

Williams’ heads-up play gave UNI a 13-10 lead at No. 21 Iowa State with six seconds left in the third quarter.

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