CEDAR CITY, Utah -- Jamar Thompson returned a fumble 32 yards for the decisive touchdown, leading Northern Iowa to a 34-24 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday.
Thompson stood up Southern Utah's Kenny Apilli in the backfield, stripped the ball, and took it to the end zone to give the Panthers (10-2) a two-touchdown lead with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
Corey Lewis rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns for Northern Iowa, ranked fourth in last week's Football Championship Subdivision poll.
Sean McMoore intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 35 yards to the SUU 3-yard line on the fourth play of the game, setting up Lewis' two-yard touchdown run.
Northern Iowa regained the lead on Pat Grace's 3-yard touchdown pass to Lewis with 12 minutes to go in the first half. Hallgren added a 35-yard field goal with 4:37 left, making it 17-10.
Southern Utah tied it 19 seconds before halftime when Stone hit Poots for a 15-yard score.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Derrick Law gave the Panthers a 24-17 lead on a 17-yard touchdown.
After Thompson's touchdown, Billy Hallgren kicked a 36-yard field goal with 1:48 left in the third quarter to make it 34-17.
Stone's 16-yard touchdown pass to Poots with 4:10 left in the game was the Thunderbirds' only score of the second half.