Northern Iowa running back David Johnson rushed for 130 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in leading the Panthers to a 24-21 win against South Dakota Saturday at the DakotaDome.
It was the fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing effort for Johnson, who ran in from 1 and 3 yards out and added a 20-yard touchdown reception right before halftime that gave UNI a 14-13 lead.
South Dakota (1-9, 0-7 MVFC) had a field goal blocked and missed another in losing by three points for the fourth time this season. The loss spoiled the effort of Coyote quarterback Josh Vander Maten, who ran for a career-best 135 yards and a score and passed for 205 yards and a touchdown. He connected with Will Powell nine times for 127 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown pass that gave USD a 13-7 lead.
Powell's score came with 55 seconds left in the first half. The Panthers' ensuing possession began with a USD personal foul on the kickoff, continued when South Dakota dropped an interception in the end zone and ended on the next play with quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen's 20-yard strike to Johnson. USD was penalized eight times for 95 yards on the afternoon.
A 1-yard plunge on 3rd-and-goal from Johnson capped a 12-play, 80-yard Panther drive that made it 21-13 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Jordan Gacke stopped South Dakota running back Marcus Sims on 4th-and-1 at midfield on the ensuing possession and Tyler Sievertsen capitalized with a 31-yard field goal that extended the lead to 24-13 with less than four minutes to go. Gacke had a game-high 11 tackles.
A 24-yard pass from Vander Maten to Anthony Williams set up a 1-yard sneak by Vander Maten that made it 24-19 with 40 seconds left. Vander Maten then ran the option into the end zone for the two-point conversion. Terrell Sinkfield recovered the onside kick for the Panthers (4-6, 3-4) to seal the win.
Sinkfield finished with seven catches for 77 yards. Kollmorgen was 13-of-24 for 158 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Courtesy: USD Athletics