Provo, UT (Sports Network) - Harvey Unga rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, also hauling in six passes for 47 yards and a score, as 16th- ranked BYU bested Northern Iowa, 41-17, in the season opener for both teams.
Max Hall completed 34-of-41 passes for 486 yards and two TD's for the Cougars (1-0), who have won 11 consecutive games dating back to last season. BYU's last loss came on September 15, 2007 at Tulsa, a 55-47 setback.
Dennis Pitta added 11 receptions for 213 yards.
Pat Grace threw for 112 yards on 11-of-18 passes and rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries for the Panthers (0-1). Josh Collins recorded 114 receiving yards and one touchdown on just three catches in the loss.
BYU's first drive of the second half faltered as Wayne Latu fumbled and De'Veon Harris recovered for the Panthers at their own 24. On the first play after the change of possession, Victor Williams found Collins down the right sideline for a 76-yard score to bring UNI within 27-10.
The Panthers closed the gap to 27-17 later in the quarter when Hall was stopped on a rush for a loss at the goal line and fumbled backward into the end zone. Mark Huygens fell on the ball for the easy touchdown.
However, Hall atoned for the miscue and his one-yard run with 9:02 left in the fourth put the Cougars ahead 34-17.
Bryan Kariya added a 14-yard TD run with 7:30 to play to ice the game.
Hall's connection with Michael Reed for a 27-yard touchdown gave BYU a 7-0 lead just over six minutes into the first quarter.
After Grace rumbled 69 yards down to the Cougars' three on the ensuing drive, the Panthers picked up three points as Billy Hallgren banked in a 33-yard field goal off the left upright.
Hall then connected with Unga over the middle for a 19-yard catch-and-run score to make it 14-3 for the Cougars late in the first.
Grace was drilled with a hard hit to the chest 13 seconds into the second quarter and had to be helped off the field. Freshman Zach Davis came in under center for two plays, before Grace returned.
Unga rumbled up the middle from two yards out with 4:50 to play in the half to put BYU ahead 20-3, but the extra point was blocked.
Unga struck again with 17 seconds to go in the quarter on a one-yard run which gave the Cougars a 24-point lead at intermission.
It was the first-ever meeting between the schools...Reed had four catches for 71 yards...BYU heads to Washington next Saturday, while Northern Iowa returns home to face South Dakota next Saturday as well.
08/30 22:46:45 ET