Career performances by quarterback Eli Dunne and wide receiver Daurice Fountain propelled the 21st-ranked UNI Panthers to a 45-38 overtime win over Cal Poly in their home opener on Saturday (Sept. 9, 2017).

Dunne and Fountain connected for three scores – including the game winner – as the Panthers (1-1) earned their first overtime victory since 2011 (Nov. 19 at Illinois State).

Dunne finished the game going 25-for-40 with 325 yards passing and four touchdowns through the air. The four scores were the most for Dunne since tossing three last week against Iowa State.

Fountain capped his stellar game catching five passes, for 75 yards and three touchdowns. The senior recorded his second game with three touchdown grabs, matching 2016’s total against Southern Illinois.

Cal Poly (0-3) scored the game’s first points to take an early 7-0 lead, after the Mustangs aired it out for a deep 44-yard touchdown from Khaleel Jenkins to Casey Sublette.

UNI hung 28 points on the Mustangs' defense in the second quarter and owned a seven-point lead (28-21) at intermission. The scoring barrage was sparked by a Trevor Allen 52-yard rushing touchdown, which was his career first as a Panther.

Not to be outdone, senior linebacker Jared Farley followed up the score with a 52-yard touchdown of his own after scooping up a Jenkins fumble. The fumble was credited to freshman Alfonzo Lambert who jarred the ball loose after a big hit.

With the lead at 14-7, UNI and Cal Poly traded a pair of touchdown passes. Dunne was responsible for both Panther scores, after scrambling to find Fountain and Aaron Graham on 21-yard and 31-yard touchdown tosses.

After the break, the Mustangs inched closer with a 27-yard field goal. The Panthers responded with 10-unanswered points after another Dunne-Fountain score, followed by a Sam Drysdale 45-yard field goal.

Leading 38-24, Cal Poly finished the game strong by scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:05 to tie the score and send the game to overtime. The scores were passes to the end zone by Jenkins, who finished the game 9-of-16 with 238 yards and four touchdowns.

Despite the late surge from the Mustangs to force overtime, the Panthers were fueled by a raucous home crowd to steal back momentum. UNI didn’t take long to go ahead as Dunne found Fountain on the fourth play of the overtime possession, putting the Panthers ahead, 45-38.

The UNI defense followed with a curtain, stopping Cal Poly on fourth down to end the game and seal UNI’s first win of the season.

The Panthers out-gained Cal Poly through the air (325-238), but the Mustangs controlled the ground attack (305-94) with their triple-option offense.

On the defensive side, linebacker Duncan Ferch finished with a career-high 15 total tackles to lead both teams on Saturday. Defensive end Adam Reth turned in a stellar performance as well, making 14 stops.

UP NEXT: The Panthers travel to Southern Utah on Saturday (Sept. 16) for their second-straight game against a Big Sky Conference opponent. Kickoff from Cedar City, Utah, is slated for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on PlutoTV.


Courtesy: UNIAthletics MediaRoom