After the Panthers' Eli Dunne hit Isaiah Weston with an 18-yard scoring strike on the game's initial drive, he started throwing touchdown passes to the wrong team.
Willie Harvey picked Dunne off and returned it 12 yards with 8:04 left in the first, evening the score. At the 1:08 mark, Kamari Cotton-Moya joined in on the pick-six fun with a 22-yard score to give the Cyclones a lead they'd never relinquish.
Sam Drysdale converted a 43-yard field goal with 5:31 left in the first half to draw Northern Iowa within 14-10, but Iowa State scored the next three touchdowns to remove suspense from the equation.
David Montgomery scored on an 8-yard run 2:27 before halftime, giving the Cyclones a 21-10 halftime lead. Montgomery made it 28-10 at the 11:21 mark of the third quarter with a 3-yard run that capped the second half's opening possession.
Quarterback Jacob Park found Marchie Murdock with a 9-yard touchdown pass just over four minutes later. Park later tacked on a second 9-yard scoring strike to Hakeem Butler with eight minutes remaining to finish Iowa State's scoring.
Dunne tossed two more touchdown passes for the Panthers. He hit Jaylin James with an 18-yard pass at the 1:36 mark of the third quarter, then connected with Aaron Grahm on a 16-yard strike with 3:23 left in the game to cap the scoring.
Dunne completed 23 of 38 passes for 259 yards with three scores, but three interceptions. Park connected on 27 of 35 attempts for 271 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.