AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Bret Meyer passed for 323 yards and two
touchdowns, including a 16-yarder to Jon Davis with 1:05 left that
gave Iowa State a 28-27 victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday
The largest crowd in Iowa State history, 55,518, saw the
Cyclones (3-2) rally from deficits of 21-7 and 27-21 to overcome
two late fumbles and survive a major scare from the Panthers (2-2),
the Division I-AA national runners-up last year.
The Cyclones weren't assured of winning until Northern Iowa's
Brian Wingert was wide right on 51-yard field goal attempt with 6
Before that, Wingert had made 19 straight field goals dating
back to last year, including fourth-quarter kicks of 43 and 32
yards that had given his team a six-point lead.
Wingert's second field goal came with just 2:20 left, but Iowa
State responded quickly, needing only 65 seconds to drive 74 yards
in six plays for the go-ahead score. Davis beat Curtis Cooper on
the left side of the end zone and Meyer's pass was perfect.
Bret Culbertson added the extra point to put the Cyclones ahead
for the first time since the first quarter.
Meyer finished 24-of-29 and also threw a 22-yard touchdown pass
to Todd Blythe in the third quarter. He was intercepted once and
Dre Dokes returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to break a 7-7 tie
in the second quarter.
Northern Iowa stretched the lead to 21-7 on its next series,
Corey Lewis scoring on a 5-yard run to finish an 80-yard, nine-play
Blythe made a leaping, juggling catch of Meyer's pass in the
back of the end zone to draw the Cyclones to 21-14, and they tied
it on Ryan Baum's 65-yard punt return with 13:10 left. But things
quickly soured for Baum and the Cyclones.
Northern Iowa went three-and-out and Baum fumbled the punt.
Northern Iowa recovered, but the Panthers were called for an
illegal formation so they had to punt again. Baum fumbled that kick
as well and Grant Zielinski recovered for Northern Iowa at the ISU
34, setting up Wingert's first field goal.
The Cyclones then zipped down the field with the help of a pass
interference call and a face mask penalty, but Austin Flynn fumbled
into the end zone while fighting to reach the goal line after
catching a pass and Northern Iowa's Araf Evans-Sykes recovered for
That led to Wingert's second field goal, which Iowa State
answered with its clutch drive.
Northern Iowa's Eric Sanders completed his first 12 passes and
finished 23-of-29 for 158 yards and a touchdown. He gave Iowa State
trouble with short passes underneath the coverage, but the Cyclones
got more pressure on him in the second half and the Panthers'
offense wasn't as effective.