CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Northern Iowa football team out-gained Southern Illinois by nearly 150 yards on Saturday. But it was the Salukis' defense and special teams that did in the Panthers on the road.
Southern Illinois rallied from a 21-6 first-half deficit with a 100-yard fumble return touchdown and a punt block return touchdown to tie the game just before halftime and then withstood a late UNI rally late in the fourth quarter.
After Northern Iowa tied the game in the fourth quarter, Austin Johnson booted a 24-yard field goal at Saluki Stadium and sent Southern Illinois to an upset win over the Panthers, 34-31.
The loss could prove detrimental to the Panthers, who are just 1-5 overall after a brutal first half schedule.
Northern Iowa led 14-6 after the first quarter and then went up 21-6 early in the second quarter before Bryan Presume returned a Panther fumble 100 yards for the score and Kenn Boatright turned a blocked punt into another score to tie it just before halftime.
The Salukis used the momentum to grab a 31-21 lead in the second half, but the Panthers got back to even when David Johnson scampered 29 yards for a touchdown and then Tyler Sievertsen tied it with a 30-yard field goal with 9:54 to play.
Austin Johnson's game-winning field goal came with 59 seconds to play in the game.
David Johnson rushed for a season-high 118 yards and scored twice. Sawyer Kollmorgen threw for 243 yards and one score but was sacked five times in the loss. His favorite target was Brett LeMaster, who snagged six passes for 112 yards and one TD. Garrett Scott led the Panther defense with 13 tackles.
Carlos Anderson also scored his first rushing touchdown since the Panthers last played Southern Illinois in 2010. David Johnson reached 100 yards rushing for the third time this season.
The Panthers held Southern Illinois to just 288 total yards but could overcome three turnovers and the blocked punt. Kory Faulkner led the Salukis with 135 passing yards and 75 rushing yards.