CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – In the opening game of the Graphic Edge Bowl, Ellsworth (IA) defeated No. 20 Northland (MN) 55-14 to kick off the first leg of the day at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, IA. The bowl win is the 24th in the history of the Panthers, the most of any NJCAA program.
- Sophomore wide receiver Ben Rooney of Ellsworth garnered Offensive MVP of the game with 177 yards and four touchdowns on five receptions. He averaged 35.4 yards per catch with his longest coming off a 64-yard touchdown catch.
- Both squads faired well in the air, surpassing 300 yards- Northland with 382 and the Panthers with 301, but Ellsworth outgained the Pioneers on the ground 222 yards to only 13 for Northland. Tekendrick Roberson led the charge with 91 yards rushing and a touchdown while teammate Dot Combs registered 67 yards.
- Defensive MVP Nikolas Ricks made an impact in multiple facets as the linebacker totaled a team-high nine tackles (eight solo), racked up two sacks and snatched one interception. The Panthers defense as a whole forced six turnovers, five interceptions and a fumble while causing havoc in the Pioneers' backfield with 7.5 sacks and 11.5 total tackles for a loss.
- Shannon Patrick shined for Northland with 382 yards and two passing touchdowns to keep the offense afloat.
- Ellsworth led 21-14 at intermission, but a 27 point third quarter from the Panthers pushed the lead to 48-14 entering the fourth period.
- With the win Ellsworth improves to 4-8 and Northland finishes the 2017 season 9-3.