Panthers earn FCS playoff spot: Host 1st round game Saturday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panthers earn FCS playoff spot: Host 1st round game Saturday

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The UNI Panthers have earned a spot in the FCS football playoffs, and will play host to a first round game against Stephen F. Austin this Saturday in the UNI Dome. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. against the Leathernecks.

Tickets are just $ 10.00, and are on sale right now through the UNI Ticket Office.  Call 319-273-4849. First round playoff tickets can also be purchased online at: www.unitix.edu. 

The 8-4 Panthers are on a winning streak right now, which includes a victory over previously undefeated and three time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State. 

It's the 17th time UNI has qualified for the post-season playoffs. There was little doubt the NCAA selection committee could overlook UNI this year. 

Stephen F. Austin is also 8-4 this season. 

This will be UNI's first playoff appearance since 2011. UNI beat Stephen F. Austin, 34-23, that season on the road.   

The 11th ranked Panthers secured the playoffs with a 38-24 victory Saturday over Terry Allen's Missouri State Bears. 

The Panthers, a heavy favorite, found themselves playing from behind early. Missouri State opened the game with a 70 yard drive, capped by a 24 yard touchdown run from Phoenix Johnson.

That's when UNI's running game picked things up. David Johnson opened the Panther scoring with a 6 yard touchdown run tying the game at 7 after one quarter. UNI added a 25 yard scamper from Darrian Miller, while Johnson went 31 yards on the Panthers final offensive play of the half to give UNI a 21-14 lead at the half.

Missouri State, however, didn't fold. The Bears scored on their opening drive of the second half. Calan Crowder found the end zone on an 8 yard run to cut the Panther lead to 24-21.

UNI however kicked it in behind Johnson. Johnson ran for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game. His 9 yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter gave UNI a 31-21 lead going in to the final frame.

Following a Missouri State field goal, Chad Owens put the game away. Owens capped the scoring with a 7 yard run in the final 5 minutes.

UNI now awaits selection to the post season. Twenty four teams will be invited to the FCS playoffs during the selection show at 10:00 AM on Sunday, with the top 8 receiving byes. UNI will host a selection show watch party in the UNI-Dome. Doors open at 9:30 AM.

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