- Brock Spack,
ISU football coach
|Despite a wall of defenders, senior running back Cliffton Gordon looks for extra yards against Northern Iowa. (Photo by Leah Gericke / Staff Photographer)|
The ISU football team found out the hard way that statistics do not determine the winner of a football game.
In a game of much importance against visiting No. 4 Northern Iowa Panthers (9-2, 7-1 MSVC) this past weekend, the Redbirds amassed 443 total yards of offense on 100 plays from scrimmage, while holding the Panthers to just 191 yards of offense on 50 plays.
Yet, it was the Panthers who came out victorious in double overtime, defeating the Redbirds 23-20 on a game-winning, 39-yard, field goal by UNI kicker Tyler Sievertsen.
“Our kids fought very hard. I told the players we ran out of time,” Brock Spack, ISU coach, said. “It was a lot of fun to be a part of. I just wish we would have won.”
The loss for the Redbirds (7-4, 5-3 MSVC) leaves their post-season aspirations in the hands of the Football Championship Subdivision selection committee.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Redbirds looked primed for a victory after running back Cliffton Gordan rushed for a 1-yard score. Gordon’s run capped a 19-play, 85-yard drive that took 9:58 off the clock. Nick Aussieker kicked the extra point, giving the Redbirds a 13-10 lead with 2:57 left in the game.
“We knew their front seven was going to be tough. Our offensive line did a great job all day getting a push,” Gordon said. “In a short-yardage situation, it’s straight power.”
But on the ensuing Panther possession, quarterback Tirrell Rennie brought his team back within field goal range. This set-up a Sievertsen 40-yard field goal attempt and make with five seconds to go in the game.
“I knew the wind was blowing in my face, but I tried not to think about it,” Sievertsen said. “I wanted to make sure I got on top of it.”
In the first overtime, the Panthers had first possession and scored on a 12-yard TD run by Rennie.
ISU tied the game at 20-20 on their possession after ISU quarterback Matt Brown connected with Marvon Sanders for a two-yard TD on a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. It was the second fourth-down conversion of the drive and their third of the game.
In double overtime, ISU quickly drove the ball down to the four-yard line. On third-and-four, Young connected with Tyrone Walker for an apparent touchdown, but an offensive pass-interference was called and the play resulted in a loss of 15 yards. This set-up a 37-yard field goal attempt by Aussieker that he missed wide left.
The Panthers took over possession and after three running plays, Sievertsen connected on a 36-yard field goal to give his team the win.
“It’s always hard after a big loss like this. We obviously felt like we could have done better in some parts of the game,” Brown said. “We just ran out of time to make plays and we had too many penalties.”
The Redbirds were led offensively by Brown who finished 33-for-49 for 243 passing yards and 28 rushing yards. Tyrone Walker caught 12 passes for 84 yards and running back Ashton Leggett ran for 65 yards on 19 carries.