The UNI Panthers held a 10-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but fell to Youngstown State, 14-10, after the 12th-ranked Penguins scored 14 unanswered points in the last 12 minutes of the game Saturday night (Oct. 15, 2016).

UNI’s defense was solid for first three quarters, but struggled to stop Youngstown State in the fourth, succumbing to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The final score came from Martin Ruiz, who punched in a one-yard rush to give the Penguins a four-point lead with just 28 seconds left on the clock.

Sophomore Eli Dunne got the Panthers (2-4 overall, 1-2 MVFC) to the YSU 44-yard-line on a 31-yard pass to Logan Cunningham with 16 seconds left to play, but was unsuccessful on a final attempt to the end zone with the Panthers falling to the Penguins.

Tyvis Smith led UNI on offense with 71 yards rushing on 11 carries, averaging a season-high 6.4 yards per carry. On defense, Elijah Campbell and A.J. Allen tied for the lead in tackles with nine, with Rickey Neal adding a career-high eight.

Despite having a rocky first quarter on offense, the UNI defense stole the show in the second, forcing three turnovers and allowing the Panthers to go on a 10-point swing in their favor.

Austin Errthum put the Panthers on the board first with a 27-yard field goal, ending a 38-yard drive. The field goal was set up by a forced fumble from Neal and a recovery from Campbell that put UNI on the YSU 48 for great starting position.

After the field goal, YSU took the field for its offensive drive and was immediately picked off by Duncan Ferch, who ran the interception 34 yards to the end zone to put UNI up 10-0 with 7:06 remaining in the second quarter.

Youngstown State (4-1, 2-0) scored the first offensive touchdown of the game to start the fourth quarter after neither team scored in the third. The drive, which lasted over 11 minutes for 22 plays, ended on a one-yard rushing touchdown from Tevin McCaster, cutting UNI’s lead to 10-7 with 11:47 left to play in the game.

The Penguins picked up momentum later in the fourth quarter, driving to the Panthers' 43-yard-line, but the UNI defense came up big again with its third interception of the game. Senior Jamison Whiting picked up his first pick of the season, returning the ball to the UNI 42-yard-line, giving the Panthers possession with less than five minutes to play.

Unfortunately, the UNI defense couldn’t stop the long drives that the Penguins kept producing. Youngstown State put together a 53-yard drive on its last possession that ended with the touchdown by Ruiz for the win.

UP NEXT: UNI returns to action on Saturday (Oct. 22) when the Panthers host Missouri State in the UNI-Dome.Kick-off on Stan Sheriff Field is scheduled at 1 p.m. for UNI’s annual Family Weekend.


Courtesy: Youngstown State Penguins via YouTube