CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) -- Eric Sanders threw a 24-yard TD pass to Montari Leonard with 7 seconds left to give top-seeded Northern Iowa a 38-35 victory over New Hampshire on Saturday night in the opening round of the FCS playoffs.
Corey Lewis added 220 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Northern Iowa (12-0), which drove 71 yards in the final 1:16 without any timeouts.
The Panthers will host Delaware (9-3) next week in the quarterfinals.
New Hampshire (7-5), which had trailed for much of the game, took its first lead, 35-31, on Chad Kackert's 15-yard touchdown run with 1:16 left. At that point it appeared that New Hampshire might get payback for 2005, when the top-seeded Wildcats fell to Northern Iowa at home in the first round.
But Sanders, a senior, calmly led the Panthers to their sixth consecutive first-round win. He hit Victor Williams for a pass that, after two laterals, moved the Panthers to the New Hampshire 24. Sanders got a little help on the winning throw, as Leonard juggled the ball, almost lost it over his shoulder, then corralled it.
New Hampshire attempted a series of laterals on the ensuing kickoff, but the last pitch by the Wildcats went over the head of a player and out of bounds.
Ricky Santos, the 2006 Walter Payton Award winner as the top player in FCS, was 26-of-35 passing for 251 yards and two touchdowns for New Hampshire. He led the Wildcats 75 yards for a go-ahead score in the final drive of a record-setting career.
Sanders completed 27 of 36 passes for 314 yards, and Lewis broke the school record for rushing yards in the postseason.