CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Tyler Hoosman ran for 63 yards and his 13-yard touchdown run with 3:24 left helped seal No. 3-ranked Northern Iowa’s 20-10 win over 15th-ranked Illinois State on Saturday.
The Panthers’ (2-1, 2-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference) four-play, 24-yard drive was set up when Jared Brinkman recovered a fumble forced by teammate Spencer Cuvelier on a sack of Illinois State quarterback Bryce Jefferson.
In what was a defensive scrum throughout, both defensive units tended get the better of each others offenses than the other way around.
Under pressure throughout, Jefferson finished 13-for-27 passing for 69 yards and ran for 60 yards on 14 carries. Northern Iowa quarterback Will McElvain was only slightly better off at 14 for 33 for 148 yards and running for score as well though he threw a pick-6.
McElvain’s 11-yard TD run on the opening drive ended a brief 35-yard scoring drive set up by Quan Hampton’s 65-yard return of the opening kickoff. Matthew Cook’s 43-yard field goal made it 10-0 a little more than halfway through the first period.
Following Aidan Bresnahan’s 49-yard field goal to put the Redbirds (0-2, 0-2) on the board, Kenton Wilhoit intercepted McElvain and returned it 29-yards for a touchdown to even the score. Cook’s 44-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter put Northern Iowa in the lead for the remainder.