CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Morgan State gave Northern Iowa a quarter's worth of confusion yesterday before the Panthers pocketed a 56-6 victory.
A crowd of 13,368 enjoyed the controlled conditions inside the UNI-Dome on a blustery afternoon outside and saw the visiting Bears hold the home team scoreless over the opening 15 minutes, despite turnovers on their first two possessions.
Morgan State (0-5) couldn't overcome a third turnover, however, that put the Panthers in business at the Morgan 30 as the opening period wound down.
A halfback pass from the 3 produced the first touchdown 1 minute, 51 seconds into the second period, and Northern Iowa tacked on three more scores before halftime.
Running back Charles Lister busted a sweep play for a 45-yard touchdown run, split end Tim Mosley gathered in a 36-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jay Johnson and tight end Chris Nuss beat single coverage for a 29-yard reception from Johnson. Mosley finished the day with three catches -- all for touchdowns -- covering a total of 106 yards.
The Panthers (5-1 and No. 9 in NCAA Division I-AA) got touchdowns on three of their first four second-half possessions and the rout was on.
"I thought the defense played pretty enthusiastic in the first quarter," said first-year Morgan State coach Ricky Diggs, whose team is still in search of its first victory. "The defense faultered after the offense couldn't get anything going.
"We couldn't establish the running game. We couldn't establish the passing game because the protection wouldn't hold up. We had four turnovers in the first half. That really hurts you and hampers you. "I just don't know the answer for it."
Northern Iowa finished with a 479-56 advantage in yards of total offense. The Panthers averaged 34.4 yards on their eight pass completions.
Defensively, Morgan State suffered through nine quarterback sacks, including one that knocked out starter Michael Moore with a knee injury in the third quarter. Leading rusher Nathan Ayers stayed home with a sprained ankle.
"We got pretty banged up," said Diggs. "We might be without Eddie Hill, our best corner, for a while. The other guys I have no idea about."
The Bears finally scored 2:44 to play when Marchell Boston blasted over from the 1. The scoring drive covered 16 yards and was set up when Morgan broke through and sacked the punter following a low snap.