Illinois State Beats E. Illinois in Mid America Thriller


CHARLESTON, Ill. – (EIUPANTHERS.COM) A true Mid-America Classic as Eastern Illinois and Illinois State played overtime for just the third time in the 104th edition of the rivalry game.  The fifth ranked Redbirds took advantage of a missed Panthers field goal with 11 seconds remaining in regulation before eventually winning the game 34-31 in the first overtime.
EIU fell to 0-3 on the season and will return to action on Oct. 3 when the Panthers open Ohio Valley Conference play at Austin Peay.  ISU improved to2-1.
EIU found the end zone first as the Panthers scored their first touchdown of the season with Jalen Whitlow hitting Anthony Taylor for a 23-yard pass at the 10:59 mark of the first half.  That score seemed to give EIU some momentum as they led 14-10 after the first quarter break.  Devin Church put the Panthers up with a 5-yard run just inside the pylon with two seconds left in the half.
Between the first and second quarters EIU honored former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan on a night that also inducted former EIU head coach Bob Spoo into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame at the half.
ISU's first quarter scores came from Sean Slattery on a 50-yard field goal and Marshaun Coprich with a 5-yard run.
Slattery would prove to the be the hero for ISU as he knocked down a 32-yard field goal in the first overtime.   Slattery had missed two long field goals earlier in the contest. 
EIU's defense made a stop in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and following an ISU punt Whitlow and Church marched the Panthers inside the 20-yard line for a field goal attempt.  Nick Bruno's attempt was just right as the sophomore was 1-for-2 on the day on field goals.
ISU built its lead to 24-14 in the second quarter with Tre Roberson rushing in from three yards out and then hitting Mike Clements for a 40-yard strike down the middle of the field.
The Redbirds tried to add to the lead in the final minutes of the first half but Seth McDonald picked off a Roberson pass and scored from 20-yards out.  McDonald led EIU with 12 tackles, his third straight double figure tackle game.  Anthony Goodman added 12 tackles.
EIU scored ten points in the fourth quarter with Whitlow's five yard touchdown with 1:48 to play knotting the score at 31-31.  EIU's defense then forced a three-and-out to give the Panthers a shot at the upset.
Church became the first EIU back over the 100 yard mark this season with 109 yards and one score.  Isaiah Nelson caught five passes for 62 yards.  Whitlow finished 16-of-28 for 165 yards.
Coprich ended the game with 178 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.  Anthony Warrum had five catches for 96 yards.  ISU's defense was led by Alec Kocour with 14 tackles.

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