Cedar Falls, Iowa -- The No. 2/3 Youngstown State football suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday losing 30-11 a Gateway Conference game to Northern Iowa at the UNI Dome.
The Penguins (3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Gateway) struggled throughout the contest to slow down the Panthers. In the first half, UNI built a 10-0 lead and had two drives end with turnovers in the YSU end zone. YSU cut the deficit to 10-3 at the break on a career-long 49-yard field goal by Jake Stewart with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.
After halftime, the 24th-ranked Panthers (3-1 and 1-0) scored on a 23-yard fumble return of an option pitch for touchdown by Ken Harris in the third quarter. On their next possession following a Matt Mitchell interception of a Jeff Ryan pass at the YSU 27, UNI's Richard Carter scored on a four-yard run to give UNI a 23-3 lead. In the contest, the Penguins committed five turnovers while Northern Iowa had four. It marked the second time in four games this season that YSU has turned the ball over five times in a game.
UNI's Adam Benge added a two-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter for a 30-3 lead. YSU scored its only touchdown of the game when Jeff Ryan threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Jerald Burley with 11:16 left. Ryan threw to P.J. Mays for the two-point conversion to trail 30-11.
For the game, Ryan had 85 yards rushing on 19 carries and
completed 15-of-24 passes for a touchdown, two interceptions and
152 yards. Mays finished with 39 yards on 15 attempts.
Benge had a career-best day finishing with 161 yards on 17 carries. For the game, UNI had 400 yards total offense while the Penguins finished with 364. Northern Iowa had 300 yards rushing and led in total yardage 364-182 through three quarters.
UNI took the opening drive of the game and scored on a 37-yard field goal by Mac Hoambrecker. On their next possession, the Panthers capped a nine-play 69-yard drive on a 20-yard pass from Tom Petrie to Marlus Mays. In its three second quarter possessions, tight end Ryan Hannam fumbled into the end zone (which Bruce Hightower recovered), Hoambecker was short on a 52-yard field goal and Hightower intercepted Petrie in the end zone. Petrie ran for 56 yards and was 12-of-17 passing for 114 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Defensively, Antulio Aroche and Anthony Barone had eight tackles apeice for YSU.
The Penguins will try to regroup this week before trying travelling to Terre Haute, Ind., to play Indiana State on Saturday, Oct. 6. YSU is perfect in five trips to Indiana State and will be looking to snap a two-game road losing streak.