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North Dakota State @ Northern Iowa, 2012

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa--I am at the UNIDome today to see the top ranked NDSU Bison visit the UNI Panthers. NDSU comes into this game undefeated at 3-0, while UNI sits at 1-3. It is a beautiful upper 70s/lower 80s day right now and would be a great outdoor game today but we are inside the dome where a near capacity crowd is expected.

This is the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for NDSU, while UNI plays their second league game. UNI is coming off a loss at Youngstown State in a high scoring game with the Penguins winning 42-35.

This game almost is a must win for UNI for any playoff hopes for the Panthers. NDSU, on the other hand, will hope to stay atop the national rankings with a win where it would set up a great matchup with the undefeated Penguins in Fargo next week. YSU is ranked #3 in some polls and has an off-week.

NDSU has given up just over four points per game on defense so it will be a key area in this game to see if the UNI offense can muster more offense than NDSU's prior oppenents.

UNI quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen has looked good in his games thus far despite being a freshman. The Panthers were in both of their games against Big 10 teams in Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as last week against YSU.

I believe Panther running backs David Johnson and Carlos Anderson will have to run the ball to keep the NDSU defense from keying on the pass.

UNI's defense I believe has shown some vulnerability to the run and that plays into the NDSU's game plan on offense. Sam Ojuri and John Crocket are the one-two running punch for the Bison. Quarterback Brock Jensen has also played well in the passing game in leading a balanced attack.

NDSU defeated UNI last year in Fargo for the first time in the two program's Missouri Valley history after losing the first three in the series.

UNI is also a little banged up after playing the two Big 10 teams but it is a little unclear even just before kickoff who will be out there for the Panthers. NDSU is relatively healthy aside from losing All-American canidate safety Colton Heagle and sat some players last week when the Bison won easily over Prairie View A&M.

The first couple of series to me will be key. If NDSU is up early, they will likely take the crowd out of the game. But if the game is close, this will be an advantage for the Panthers.

Having seen both teams in action earlier this year, I think this game will be close but I can't overlook that NDSU has not lost a road game since losing the Division I quarterfinal contest in 2010. The Bison know how to play on the road and fell they will come out with the victory today. But it will likely be under a touchdown difference.

We shall see. I can't wait until kickoff.

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  1. Kent's Avatar
    Ojuri gets five on 1st down.

    2nd & 5 -- NDSU 47 Jensen can't get away on this pass attempt and is sacked.

    3rd & 13 for NDSU at the NDSU 39.
  2. Kent's Avatar
    Vraa with a catch but it is 3 yards short of the 1st down marker.

    NDSU to punt on 4th & 3 from the UNI 49. UNI fumbles the punt return and NDSU gets the ball at the UNI 9.

    We have 4:31 left in the opening half with UNI leading 7-3.
  3. Kent's Avatar
    Crockett gets a yard on the first down play.

    2 & goal from the UNI 8.
  4. Kent's Avatar
    Crockett nearly gets in but stumbles at the five trying. UNI called for a roughing the passer call to set up a 1st & goal at the 3.

    Crockett gets in from there. PAT from Keller is good.

    NDSU back on top, NDSU 10 UNI 7 with 3:37 left in the 2nd qtr.
  5. Kent's Avatar
    Huge turnover by UNI after the Panther defense stopped NDSU for their first punt of the game.

    Let's see how UNI responds.
  6. Kent's Avatar
    The NDSU KO goes into the end zone but it is returned to the UNI 28.
  7. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 -- UNI 28 LeMaster back in the game after the big hit and makes the catch out to the Panther 45.
  8. Kent's Avatar
    Johnson hit for a two yard loss.

    2nd & 12 from the UNI 46--Anderson with a short three yards on the pass play.

    3rd & 9 Kollmorgen hit with a blitz and fumbles it as he drops back to pass. NDSU recovers on the UNI 34. 1:28 left in the half.
  9. Kent's Avatar
    Ojuri with a screen pass down to the UNI 19.
  10. Kent's Avatar
    Vraa with a great catch on the sidelines for eight.

    2nd & 2 from the UNI 11.
  11. Kent's Avatar
    UNI with a TO. 56 seconds left in the half.
  12. Kent's Avatar
    Vraa can't make the catch on the 2nd down play.

    3rd & 2 form the UNI 11.
  13. Kent's Avatar
    Huge play on the UNI defense here to hold NDSU to a FG attempt.

    Jensen slips on a qb keeper and gets nothing on the play. It looked like he had the

    4th & 2 -- 28 yard FG attempt from Keller is good.

    NDSU 13 UNI 7 with 44 seconds left in the opening half.
  14. Kent's Avatar
    Now, will UNI try to move the ball. The Panthers have one time out left.

    Anderson returns from his goalline to the Panther 27. 37 seconds left.
  15. Kent's Avatar
    Johnson gets five but UNI will take it to the halftime break.

    NDSU 13 UNI 7.
  16. Kent's Avatar
    Halftime Stats:

    Total yards: NDSU 159 yards, UNI 126
    Redzone chances: NDSU 4 (converted on 3), UNI 1 (converted the 1)
    Turnovers: UNI 2, NDSU 0
    3rd down conversions: UNI 1 of 4, NDSU 3 of 7

    The biggest stat is the turnover one with NDSU being +2. The blocked FG for UNI has kept it a one score game.

    NDSU will get the opening kickoff.
  17. Kent's Avatar
    The UNI kickoff is returned out of the end zone by Marcus Williams but he gets back to just the NDSU 20.
  18. Kent's Avatar
    Crockett with a huge sweep to the right on the first play of from scrimmage. He gets to the Panther 37.
  19. Kent's Avatar
    Ojuri gets two on the next play.

    2nd & 8 from the UNI 35. Kevin Vaadeland with a catch over the middle from the TE position to the UNI 22.
  20. Kent's Avatar
    Ojuri gets seven on the next play to the Panther 15.

    2nd & 3 Andrew Bonnet with a catch on the outside.

    1st & goal for the Bison at the UNI 6.
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