CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Theo Day accounted for five touchdowns and Northern Iowa allowed a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes but held off Youngstown State 44-41 in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both schools on Saturday.
Northern Iowa's defense allowed 418 yards of offense by the Penguins, but held them to just 85 rushing yards.
Day fired three first-half touchdown passes, including a 32-yard strike to Naran Buntin early in the second quarter, to take a 20-13 lead at intermission, but Youngstown State (2-2, 0-1) scored on a pair of 1-yard runs to take a 27-23 advantage through three quarters. Day threw 30-yards to Sam Schnee to put the Panthers back in front with 10:36 left in the game and Tyjahree Edwards scored from 30 yards out to make it 37-27 with six minutes left.
Mitch Davidson hit Bryce Oliver with a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 left, but an onsides kick attempt failed and a personal foul on the Penguins allowed Day to engineer an answering touchdown with a two-play, 15-yard drive with 1:25 left. Davidson hit Luke Hensley from 9 yards out with 32 seconds left to set the final score.
Day was 21 of 29 for 337 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers with an interception to lead Northern Iowa (2-2, 1-0). Edwards had 21 carries for 124 yards and a score.
Davidson was 30 of 40 for 332 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for the Penguins. Oliver caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
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