Defensive tackle Brawntae Wells gave the UNI Panthers all the scoring they would need Saturday during a 17-3 playoff win against the San Diego Toreros at the UNI-Dome.
On the third play from scrimmage, Wells snagged a Reid Sinnett pass and hauled it 34 yards in the other direction into the end zone. For much of the game, that stood up as the only touchdown.
UNI stopped San Diego on two other occasions with interceptions and once by forcing and recovering a fumble. An Omar Brown pick in the second quarter was nearly followed by a second Brown INT just minutes later, but a “roughing the passer” penalty negated the play.
San Diego scored their only points on a 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining before halftime to cut the Panther lead to 7-3.
UNI’s Matthew Cook left a 53-yard field goal try short in the third quarter, but he eventually extended the lead to 10-3 with a 39-yard conversion with 8:25 to play in the game.
Then with under three minutes remaining in the contest, Christian Jegen intercepted a tipped pass from Sinnett and returned the ball deep into the Torero red zone. On the ensuing play, Trevor Allen carried five yards and crossed the goal line for a touchdown which set the final score.
San Diego had averaged over 41 points per game entering the contest, but the Panthers held them to just 213 total yards, while recording three sacks to go along with the four takeaways.
On a subdued day for the UNI offense, Will McElvain was 13-27 for 186 yards and ran for 34 yards on nine carries.
Allen had for 46 yards on the ground. Isaiah Weston had two catches for 58 yards.
UNI moves on to the second round of the FCS playoffs for a game next weekend against South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits topped UNI 38-7 earlier this year.