IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Northern Iowa is through with its paycheck games against Wisconsin and Iowa. The Panthers lost them both — but they hardly embarrassed themselves.
Next up is Missouri Valley play, where Northern Iowa is sure to be among the favorites to win the league and repeat as champion.
Walk-on fullback Mark Weisman rushed for 113 yards and three short touchdowns as Iowa held off Northern Iowa 27-16 on Saturday.
James Vandenberg added 228 yards passing for the Hawkeyes (2-1), who beat the Panthers, a Football Championship Subdivision program, for the 15th straight time despite losing backs Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon to injuries.
Weisman, a sophomore with 8 career yards rushing coming into the game, scored from 1, 1 and 2 yards out to help Iowa avoid its third straight home loss dating to 2011.
"He wore us down. We missed some tackles that we normally don't miss," Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley said of Weisman. "That's probably the story line."
Sawyer Kollmorgen had 245 yards passing and an interception for Northern Iowa (1-2), which lost to Wisconsin and Iowa on the road this season by a combined total of just 16 points.
"A Big Ten team is going to line up and just try to win the line of scrimmage and wear you down. And that's kind of what happened," Farley said. "Leaving here, I'm pleased with what our team was asked to do and what they did in the last few weeks."
The Hawkeyes nearly lost to Northern Iowa in 2009 before rallying for a 17-16 victory in a season that later saw them win the Orange Bowl.
This one wasn't quite that close — but Iowa still wasn't comfortable until late in the fourth quarter.
Iowa opened up a 24-13 lead just four plays into the third quarter, as Kevonte Martin-Manley's 51-yard reception set up Weisman's final TD of the day. But the Hawkeyes followed with a pair of three-and-outs, and they needed a key stop to hold Northern Iowa to Tyler Sievertsen's 25-yard field goal, which made it 24-16 late in the third quarter.
Iowa got to the Panthers 1 early in the fourth, and the Hawkeyes settled for a 19-yard field goal from Mike Meyer.