E. Illinois Picks Up 3rd OVC Win On Homecoming

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CHARLESTON, Ill. (via EIU Athletics) – Anthony Goodman turned the tide with 2:35 to play in the third quarter as he picked off a pass and raced 46-yards for a touchdown to put Eastern Illinois up 14-3.  The Panthers tacked on two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns as they beat Tennessee State, 28-3, on Saturday afternoon during the EIU homecoming game at O'Brien Field.
 
Goodman stepped in front of the pass thrown by quarterback Ronald Butler just as defensive lineman Dino Fanti was applying pressure.   It was the second big play of the day Fanti was involved in as the junior made a stop on a fourth and goal with just over four minutes to play in the second quarter that allowed EIU to lead 7-0 at the half.   Fanti had five tackles including two stops for loss.
 
With the win EIU improved to 3-5 on the season, 3-1 in the OVC.   Tennessee State dropped its fourth straight game falling to 4-5 overall, 1-4 in the OVC.   The Panthers will play at Tennessee Tech next Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. start.
 
In a game that matched the league's top offensive unit (EIU) and the league's top defensive unit (TSU), it was a defensive battle through three quarters.   The Panthers scored the only points of the first half on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Whitlow to Adam Drake with 13:33 to go in the quarter.  It capped a six play, 59-yard drive.   EIU had 136 yards on 32 plays at the half, TSU had 131 yards on 32 plays at the half.
 
The Tigers broke through on the opening drive of the second half as Lane Clark connected on a 42-yard field goal capping a seven play, 27-yard drive.
 
The two squads traded possessions before Goodman's interception return for a touchdown.   It was Goodman's third career touchdown as he has now scored on a blocked punt return, fumble return and interception return in his three-year career.  Goodman ended the day with four tackles and one pass break-up.
 
EIU would break open the game in the fourth quarter on the ground.   Whitlow scampered through the right side of the line for a 67-yard touchdown with 12:36 to play.   Shepard Little would find the end zone on a 50-yard run up the middle with 4:04 left in the game.   EIU finished with 294 yards rushing as Little rushed for 130 yards.  Whitlow had 91 yards on the ground. 
 
Whitlow was 8-of-14 through the air for 76 yards with one touchdown.   EIU did not turn the ball over for a second straight game.   Whitlow has now completed 145 straight passes without an interception.   The school record is 157 set by Walter Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo last season.
 
TSU finished with 287 yards of total offense with Darion Hall rushing for 63 yards.   Michael German and Butler each spent time at quarterback for TSU with both throwing an interception.   German passed for 149 yards going 16-of-25.   The Panthers also recovered a fumble as Thomas Coronado came out the pile with a loose ball to give EIU a plus-3 margin.
 
Jourdan Wickliffe led the way with eight tackles.   Robert Haynes had six tackles with one tackle for loss.
 
TSU's defense was led by Nick Thrasher and Mike West both with ten tackles.   West had two tackles for loss.

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