Eastern Illinois Picks Up Big Road Win At SEMO

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.  (EIU athletics) – Eastern Illinois defense forced five turnovers as the Panthers picked up an Ohio Valley Conference road win at Southeast Missouri, 52-13, on Saturday afternoon.

Jourdan Wickliffe had two interceptions while Anthony Goodman and Anthony Standifer each had one pick.   The Panthers recovered a first quarter fumble as they improved to 2-5 overall, 2-1 in the OVC.  SEMO dropped to 4-4, 2-2 in the OVC.

Both offensive units opened the game with three-and-out offensive series.   The Panthers broke through first as Jalen Whitlow hit Adam Drake on a third and one play-action pass that resulted in a 50-yard touchdown reception for Drake.   The senior receiver finished with seven receptions for 110 yards as he needs one more reception to break into the OVC career top ten.

Southeast Missouri climbed to within one point on a pair of Ryan McCrum field goals, the first from 51-yards out.  The second McCrum field goal came after EIU was stopped on a fourth down at the Redhawks 10.

Whitlow pushed the lead to 14-6 to open the second quarter with the first of his three rushing touchdowns.  Whitlow added a 12-yard touchdown run with 2:14 left in the first half that put EIU up 21-13.  His final rushing touchdown was in the fourth quarter.  He rushed for 75 yards while going 17 of 30 passing for 213 yards.

Nick Bruno put EIU up 24-13 at the half with a season best 45-yard field goal.   SEMO's first half touchdown was on a 6-yard Spencer Davis touchdown reception.   Standifer ended a late first half SEMO drive with an interception at the 10-yard line.   Standifer had three tackles with the interception and a pass break-up.

EIU's defense pitched a shutout in the second half as the Panthers allowed 125 second half yards with Darnell Lee leading the defensive unit with ten tackles.    Adam Gristick added eight tackles.

EIU finished with 548 yards of total offense.  Jimmy Lera had the Panthers final score on a record tying rush of 96-yards.  He tied the school record set by Poke Cobb in 1976 against Tennessee Tech.   Taylor Duncan added a short rushing touchdown and Whitlow hit Drake for a 5-yard strike in the third quarter.

EIU returns to action next Saturday hosting Tennessee State for the Panthers annual homecoming game.  Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at O'Brien Field.  Tickets are available by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com

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