Cedar Falls, Iowa 2019- It was low scoring affair, but the defense came up huge for UNI when they needed it. The Panthers defeated the University of San Diego Toreros 17-3 on Saturday afternoon. Northern Iowa struck first with a 33 yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive end Brawntae Wells. This proved to be the only touchdown of the first half. UNI was able to strike deep into Torero territory in the second quarter, but a Will McElcvain fumble ended the scoring threat. San Diego was able to get on the board with 10 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter when kicker Brandon Eickert hit a 33 yard field goal. With the score 7-3 the teams went to halftime. After the break the Toreros mounted a drive that stalled at the UNI 21. The pivotal play being a 4th down QB sneak attempt that was stopped inches short of a first down. UNI then started a drive that ended after a long completion to Isaiah Weston that was overturned and brought back to the 50 yard line. At the 4:19 mark in the 3rd quarter UNI’s Matthew Cook attempted a 53 yard field goal that came up just short as it hit the front of the crossbar. It wasn’t until midway through the 4th quarter that UNI was able to mount a point scoring drive. The Panthers drove to the 31 yard line before Matthew Cook hit on a 39 yard field goal attempt to run the Panther lead to 10-3. The fourth quarter proved to be full of defensive highlights for UNI. After exchanging punts San Diego started what appeared to be the last gasp drive at the 3:28 mark. On first down San Diego’s Reid Sinnett, a Johnston native, hit tight end Dalton Kincaid for a 30 yard gain to the 50 yard line. The Panther’s defense answered the bell, however, when at the 2:57 mark Christan Jegen intercepts Sinnett off of a tipped ball and returns it all the way to the San Diego 7. On the next play of the game Trevor Allen punched it in to the make the score 17-3 in favor of the Panthers. UNI’s defense made on more huge play when Crestwood alumn Spencer Cuvelier scooped up a fumble and returned it 10 yards to seal the game for the Panthers with a final score of 17-3. The Panthers move into the second round of the FCS playoffs and will face the 7th seeded Jackrabbits of South Dakota State in Brookings, South Dakota. That game will be played on Saturday, December 7th at 2 pm. For the Toreros, their season will come to a close at 9-3. This is San Diego’s first loss since the second week of the season. For Reid Sinnett, his career will close in the state where it started. He is a graduate of Johnston High School. Sinnett said of playing Iowa, “Yeah, it was exciting…I wish we would have a better performance obviously, but it was nice to show everyone where I’m from.” Coach Farley, after the game, said, “I thought we played really well. Credit to San Diego. I thought they had a good plan, but our guys did an outstanding job today. This win moves the sixth rated Panthers to 9-4 on the season.