Eastern loses 4 in a row

Pete Houlihan, sophomore defensive back and special teams player, stiff arms a defender while returning a punt Sept. 1 in a game against Illinois State on O'Brien Field.(Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Dominic Renzetti/Sports Editor

The Eastern football team fell for the fourth straight week.
This week they came up short against Ohio Valley Conference opponent Southeast Missouri.

Eastern entered the game without a win against a conference opponent, while Southeast Missouri had yet to win a game this season.

The Redhawks’ 37-30 win over the Panthers brings their overall record to 1-3, with a 1-1 record in the OVC, while the Panthers are now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the OVC.

Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni put the game’s end result into simple terms following the Panthers’ loss.

“We got beat, simple as that,” Bellantoni said.

Bellantoni said a key factor in the team’s loss was Southeast Missouri State’s ability to run the ball at will.

The Redhawks finished with a total of 411 rushing yards among four different players.

Quarterback Matt Scheible led the team with 161 rushing yards, while running back and fullback Levi Terrell and Ron Coleman had 106 and 77 yards, respectively. Running back Renard Celestin also had 71 yards on just two touches.

“Their quarterback is a very good player who is able to make plays,” Bellantoni said.

Scheible’s 161 yards were a career high for the junior quarterback, who threw for three touchdowns to compliment his two rushing touchdowns.

Scheible completed 14 of 18 pass attempts, totaling 130 yards.

Scheible’s leading receiver was D.J. Foster, who had three catches, two of which were for touchdowns, totaling 56 yards.

Red-shirt junior running back Jake Walker shared the load for the Panthers with red-shirt freshman AJ Woodson.

Walker finished with 43 yards on the ground and one touchdown, while Woodson had 36 yards, but averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
Walker averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.

Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw 26 passes in the game, completing 16 of them for a total of 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Garoppolo’s leading receiver was red-shirt junior Von Wise, who had four catches for 65 yards.

Junior wide receiver Chris Wright saw Garoppolo’s only touchdown pass of the night, while also finishing with 24 yards on three catches.

Junior wide receiver Kenny Whittaker also had four catches in the game, finishing with 30 yards.

Bellantoni said the team’s problems didn’t have to do so much with compatibility and attitude as it did technical issues and efficiency.

“It’s a matter of execution, not morale,” Bellantoni said.

The Panthers will get another shot at a win over an OVC opponent at the Family Weekend game against Eastern Kentucky.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 581-7944 or dcrenzetti@eiu.edu.

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