The Collegian
Friday, February 03, 2023

Spiders rally late past UNI to reach first FCS title game

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- When junior quarterback Eric Ward was practicing passing plays this week, senior tight end Joe Stewart was usually his third option.

Stewart said he had told Ward: "Don't forget about me over there. Give me a chance."

On Saturday, Stewart got his chance. His 71 receiving yards and five catches were career highs, and his touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game led the Spiders to a 21-20 win during the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals against the University of Northern Iowa.

"We've probably run that play 20 times this week," Ward said. "That's the first time I looked at him."

The usual receivers were redshirt freshman wide receiver Tre Gray, who had six receptions for 68 yards, and Kevin Grayson, whose 40-yard touchdown gave the Spiders a 7-3 halftime lead. Grayson left the game at the end of the first half with an injury, and Ward had only four passing attempts during the third quarter.

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