Three field goals by Austin Errthum kept the University of Northern Iowa in it until the end, but the Panthers were only able to move the ball across the goal line once in a 23-16 second round FCS playoff road loss to the Aggies of UC-Davis Saturday.
Errthum’s field goals were from 41, 36, and 45 yards; the first two gave UNI leads in the opening quarter, capping the Panther’s first two drives.
In between, UC-Davis got a 24 yard kick from Max O’Rourke to tie the score on their first possession. The Aggies took the lead permanently with 52 seconds left in the opening quarter on a four-yard connection from Jake Maier to Wesley Preece.
Two more O’Rourke field goals set the score at 16-6 by halftime.
A Duncan Ferch interception and long return brought UNI in position for another field goal try, but Errthum could not connect from 51 yards, and UC-Davis moved efficiently down the field for their final score on a two-yard Ulonzo Gilliam carry nearly seven minutes into the half.
The Panthers broke through for their only touchdown – a two-yard effort by Trevor Allen – on their next drive, concluding with six minutes to go in the period. The final UNI points came from Errthum’s foot in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
The teams would exchange missed field goal tries as the period continued.
UNI’s drive for a game-tying touchdown stalled on the Aggies 36 as the Panthers turned it over on downs with just over two minutes to go, allowing the Aggies to run out the clock.
The Panthers churned out 273 of their 366 offensive yards through the air, as Eli Dunne spread 22 completions among nine different receivers. He was intercepted twice, while the Panther defense also snared two interceptions.
Allen led the ground game with 62 yards.
The loss ends UNI’s year at 7-6.