Panthers Break Camp, Begin Preparations for WIU

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CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois football wrapped up its fall camp on Saturday morning with a scrimmage followed by interviews with the local media.   During the course of the scrimmage the offense and defense were able to hold each other in check with the first score of the game a 41-yard field goal by kicker Nick Bruno.

Bruno would make all three field goal attempts during the scrimmage with two from beyond 40-yards.  The first offensive touchdown was a long pass from Austin Green to Addison Bounds as both sides of the ball witnessed a mixture of players fighting for spots on the depth chart.

“I think we had a successful camp. We made some decisions which we had to make, so I feel good about where we are as a football team,” said second year head coach Kim Dameron.  “We need to get some guys healthy because we banged against each other for the last two weeks, but I feel good about where we are as we get set to prepare for the Western Illinois game.”

EIU wrapped up camp with an offensive drive that saw local product Jared Pilson score on a 3-yard scramble to give the offense the final score of fall camp.   The Panthers look forward to the start of the season with versatility on both sides of the ball.

“Camp went well this season.  We had a lot of competition and enthusiasm.  All of it will make us better as we turn our focus to Sept. 3,” said senior quarterback Jalen Whitlow.  “We had competition in camp.  The more we can push the starters, the better those guys playing behind them will be which makes us a better football team.”

“We had a great camp on both sides of the ball,” said senior linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill.  “The defense has been putting in a lot of work.  The offense has been showing us some great things during practice.  We are really excited for the start of the year and that first game to get here.”

EIU will open the season at Western Illinois on Sept. 3 as the Panthers play their first two contests on the road.   EIU will travel to Northwestern on Sept. 12 before returning home to host Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic on Sept. 19 at O’Brien Field.  That game will serve as the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame Game in addition to the Panthers honoring former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan during the game.   Season and single game tickets are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com

The meeting between in-state rivals EIU and WIU will be the 66th in the series and first since the two teams met in the FCS playoffs in 2002.   EIU will open the season ranked 25th in the FCS Coaches Poll.  Both EIU and WIU are among the teams also receiving votes in the STATS FCS Media Poll with EIU the first team listed also receiving votes.

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