CHARLESTON (via EIUPanthers.com) -- Eastern Illinois football closed out spring practice on Saturday afternoon with the defense winning the annual spring game 26-20 over the offense in a modified scoring system. The Panthers defense recorded ten sacks which were awarded if a defense player reached the quarterback to apply contact without making the full tackle.
Jarvis Williams had three of those sacks as the senior defensive lineman said the Panthers can use this momentum to head into the summer and next fall's camp.
"As a senior I see myself as one of the leaders of our defense. This is my last spring game and I think our defense had a great day," Williams said. "We can use this momentum to feel good going into the summer.
The defensive unit held the Panthers offense to two touchdowns and two field goals by Nick Bruno as they added two turnovers to their list of ten sacks.
Austin Green took snaps under center to open the scrimmage driving the Panthers into field goal range on the first possession. Bruno connected from 37-yards out to put the offense up early. Bruno's other field goal came from 23 yards out to start the fourth quarter after Cornelius Page broke up a pass at the goal line to halt the offense's drive in the red zone.
Green finished the day 11-of-20 for 110 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The touchdown pass was a 5-yard strike to Addison Bounds early in the third quarter.
EIU's other touchdown came late in the first quarter on a touchdown run by Devin Church from two-yards out. The drive was led by transfer quarterback Bud Martin. Martin had a big pass on the drive to James Brooks. Brooks finished the day with six catches for 92 yards. Martin was 10-of-16 for 96 yards
The two turnovers for the defense both came on interceptions. Jermiah Rainey picked off a pass in the first half. Camden Meade ended an offensive drive with an interception in the end zone. The final three plays of the game summed up the defense's effort on the day. Stephen Davis and Jareem Fleming recorded back-to-back sacks before Derrek Tiburzi had a pass break-up to end the scrimmage.
Two offensive players had big days with Korliss Marshall finishing with 125 yards with a combination of carries and receptions. Aaron Gooch had the biggest run of the day with a 57 yard burst. Gooch put the offense in business inside the ten yard line only to be turned away on the pass break-up by Page.
Third year head coach Kim Dameron was satisfied with the performances for the day.
"It was a successful day for us on both sides of the ball. We were able to run a lot of plays and play in a somewhat game day atmosphere," said Dameron. "The defense looked good today with getting to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. The ten sacks are probably a little skewed due to the contact rules with the quarterback but it was good to see that amount of pressure."