Northern Iowa 40,
Texas State 37
Matt Tharp intercepted Barrick Nealy's third-down pass after Brian Wingert made a 25-yard field goal to give Northern Iowa a 40-37 overtime victory over Texas State in the Division I-AA semifinals on Friday night.
Northern Iowa (11-3) will face the winner of Saturday's game between Furman (11-2) and Appalachian State (10-3) next Friday night in Chattanooga.
Northern Iowa tied it at 37 with 1 minute 27 seconds left on Terrance Freeney's two-yard touchdown run and Eric Sanders's two-point conversion pass to Justin Surrency. Sanders passed for 417 yards and four touchdowns.
Texas State had a chance to win in regulation, but the Bobcats (11-3) ran out the final 1:16 to set up the overtime, drawing boos from the crowd of 15,712.
Texas State took a 37-29 lead with 5:01 left on Daniel Jolly's two-yard run. Dominic Giametta recovered Johnny Gray's fumble in Panthers territory to set up the touchdown. Sanders completed his first nine passes, including a 30-yarder to a diving Justin Surrency in the end zone, and another for 12 yards to Brian Cutright for a touchdown, and Northern Iowa led 14-0 with 3:30 left in the first.