EIU Comes Up Short at Ohio

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ATHENS, Ohio  (via EIU Athletics) – Eastern Illinois drove to the one yard on the opening drive of the game settling for a Nick Bruno field goal.  Ohio would answer with 21 straight points as the Bobcats beat the Panthers, 34-19 on Saturday afternoon.

Ohio improved to 3-2.  EIU dropped to 1-4 and will return to action in two weeks at Eastern Kentucky, playing out the remainder of the year in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Jalen Whitlow hit Adam Drake on a 29-yard pass up the seam to start the game.  He added a 28-yard scramble which set the Panthers up inside the ten yard line.   EIU would come away with just three points.

Ohio answered with a 10-play, 78-yard drive as A.J. Ouellette scored on a 1-yard run.  Quarterback JD Sprague added a 6-yard run as the Bobcats led 14-3 after the first quarter.

The Panthers opened the second quarter going for it on a fourth and eight at the Ohio 35.  The pass was incomplete as the ball was turned over on downs.   Ouellette hit pay dirt on the next play going 65-yards to put Ohio up 21-3.  Ouellette rushed for 87 yards as Ohio had 229 yards on the ground.

Whitlow cut the lead to 21-10 midway through the second half on a 1-yard run.  The drive was set up by a Bradley Dewberry interception.  Later EIU took over with just over four minutes left in the half and the Panthers were driving before a penalty halted the drive.  Ohio blocked a punt attempt and tacked on a 20-yard Josiah Yazdani field goal with nine seconds to go in the half as Ohio led 24-10 at the half.

Yazdani had a 46-yard field goal in the third while Sprague added an 8-yard run to account for Ohio's scoring.  Sprague rushed for 69 yards while passing for 143.

Whiltow hit Anthony Taylor for a 6-yard pass in the fourth quarter while Bruno added a 24-yard field goal to wrap up EIU's scoring.  Whitlow rushed for more than 100 yards for the second straight week carrying the ball 15 times for 112 yards.  He passed for 289 yards going 30-of-46.  The Panthers offensive line did not allow a sack or tackle for loss until the final drive of the fourth quarter.

Drake was Whitlow's top target with six catches for 90 yards.   Taylor had six catches for 43 yards.

On defense Adam Gristick led EIU with nine tackles including 1.5 for loss.   Robert Haynes added six tackles with two for loss.  Anthony Standifer had the other EIU interception as they forced two turnovers.

Blair Brown led Ohio with nine tackles. 

EIU finished with more yards of total offense than its opponent for the fifth time this season.   EIU had 432 yards of total offense compared to 387 yards for Ohio. 

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