Eastern Illinois Picks Up First Win In OVC Opener

CHARLESTON, Ill. (via EIU Athletics) - Eastern Illinois set one rushing record and tied another as the Panthers won their 13th straight Ohio Valley Conference game with a 63-7 win over Austin Peay on Saturday afternoon at O'Brien Field. 

EIU improved to 1-3, 1-0 in the OVC as the Panthers opened defense of their back-to-back OVC regular season titles.  APSU dropped to 0-3, 0-1 in the OVC as the Governors have now lost 15 straight games dating back to the 2012 season.  EIU returns to action next Saturday with a 1 p.m. game at Ohio.  The win was the first collegiate win for first year EIU head coach Kim Dameron.

Quarterback Jalen Whitlow rushed for 137 yards on 15 carries with a pair of touchdowns.  He broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game previously held by Joe Davis in 1968 against Bradley University.  Whitlow passed for 159 yards going 13-of-15 with two touchdowns.

The Panthers as a team rushed for 413 yards on 63 carries with six touchdowns as the tied the school record for rushing yards in a game set last season against Jacksonville State.  Ten different EIU players rushed the ball with Jimmy Lera adding two rushing touchdowns.  AJ Woodson and Malik Harrison each added a rushing touchdown as EIU played without Walter Payton Award candidate Shepard Little, out with an injury.  The six rushing touchdowns were the most for the Panthers since scoring seven on the ground against Indiana State in 2007.

EIU scored 60+ plus points against Austin Peay for the third straight year.  The Panthers beat the Governors 63-7 last year in Clarksville and 65-15 in 2012 at O'Brien Field.

The Panthers led 7-0 after the first quarter as Whitlow scored a 6-yard run his first score of the game.   The Panthers extended the lead to 28-0 with 5:24 to go in the second quarter on Lera's first rushing touchdown.   Taylor Duncan caught one of his two touchdown passes at the 11:39 mark of the second quarter and Whitlow added another short touchdown run from six yards at the 8:45 mark.

Austin Peay scored its lone touchdown of the game on a Justin Roberson 1-yard run with 3:27 left to play in the first half.   EIU added a 13-yard run by Lera to lead 35-7 at the break.  EIU limited Austin Peay to just eight first downs and 224 yards of total offense.

Duncan caught his second touchdown pass of the game to open the third quarter as the senior running back had four catches for 16 yards to go with 33 yards on the ground.   EIU scored on special teams with Antoine Johnson blocking a punt at the 12-yard line and recovering the ball in the end zone for a score. 

Harrison and Woodson both scored in the fourth quarter.  EIU had 620 yards of total offense which is the 10th best single game total in school history.   Adam Drake hauled in four passes for 81 yards to lead the Panthers air attack.

Roberson was APSU's top rusher with 45 yards.  Mickey Macius took over at quarterback passing for 72 yards on 4-of-11.  The Governors defense was led by Montez Carlton with 11 tackles.

EIU had a balanced defense effort with senior Robert Haynes leading the way with nine tackles including two tackles for loss.   Horace Arkadie added seven tackles and Laquesse Taylor six.  Brandon Ross forced the lone turnover of the game as the fumble was recovered by Bradley Dewberry.

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