EIU Results from the weekend:
The Eastern Illinois men’s soccer team opened Summit League play Saturday evening falling to Oral Roberts 3-2. With the loss the Panthers fall to 2-5-1 overall and 0-1-0 in the conference while ORU improves to 4-3-1 and 1-0-0 in the Summit League.
The Panthers return to Charleston this Tuesday when they face Valparaiso at 3 p.m. for Senior Day.
Playing their senior day game to wrap up Family Weekend on Eastern Illinois campus, it was a group of underclassmen that lifted EIU to its first conference victory of the season as they beat UT Martin, 1-0, in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field.
Freshman Rachel Pappas scored just over a minute into the first extra session as Brooke Greiner found Sarah DeWolf on a quick counter with DeWolf feeding Pappas for the game winner. Pappas scored 1:09 into the overtime session as EIU improved to 4-6 on the season, 1-1 in the OVC.
Following the match EIU honored the five members of their 2016 senior class – Megan Hjort, Kayla Thompson, Kathleen MacKinnon, Lindsey Marino and Emily Wolf.
On an unusually hot fall day, it was the offense that heated up the scoreboard as No. 16 Eastern Illinois won its Ohio Valley Conference opener with a 56-35 win over Austin Peay at O’Brien Field in Charleston. Temperatures on Saturday’s Family Weekend game hovered just over the 90 degree mark.
Eastern Illinois built a 21-7 lead in just over a quarter of action to open the game. Korliss Marshall scored the Panthers first two touchdowns catching an 11-yard pass from Austin Green and scoring on a 1-yard run that put EIU up 14-0 with 3:26 to play in the first half.
After Austin Peay cut the lead in half with a Tommy Hays 3-yard touchdown pass to Prince Momodu with 13:59 to play in the first half, senior Devin Church ran through a seam in the middle and raced 50-yards for a touchdown. Church was one of two Eastern Illinois running backs to finish with more than 100 yards as he finished with a game high 139 yards. Christopher Anderson added 129 yards and two second half touchdowns giving the Panthers offense a late shot in the arm. It marked the first time since Nov. 16, 2013 that EIU had two running backs finish with more than 100-yards.
The Governors answered Church’s score with a long touchdown drive as Hays rushed in from three yards to cut the lead to 21-14 with 7:20 to play in the half. The drive covered 72 yards as three of APSU’s scoring drives on the day covered 72 or more yards.
EIU had a chance to add to the lead late in the first half but Gunner Scholato picked off a pass in the end zone with 2:13 remaining in the half. Scholato was a factor on defense all day for APSU finishing with a game high 18 tackles. The interception was the only blemish on Green’s stat line as he was 24-of-30 for 263 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start.
Leading 21-14 at the half special teams and defense would play a factor in the second half for both teams. Austin Peay tied the score at 21-21 as Kyran Moore returned the opening kickoff of the second half 98 yards to tie the game at 21-21.
Anderson made his first appearance this season for the Panthers on the next drive and capped it with a 14-yard touchdown run putting the Panthers back up by a score. Following a missed field goal by APSU, Green capped another Panthers scoring drive with an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:27 to play in the third quarter. EIU rushed for 330 yards and six touchdowns. The Panthers racked up 641 yards of total offense, the ninth highest single game total in school history.
The Governors did not give up on the afternoon cutting the EIU lead back to one touchdown to open the fourth quarter as Timar Mitchell connected with Jared Beard for an 8-yard touchdown. APSU then recovered an onside kick to retain the ball as Malik Boynton caught the short kick and fell out-of-bounds. EIU’s defense came up big as Nick Horne forced a turnover for the third straight game as he picked off a Mitchell pass and returned it 31-yards to set up another EIU score. Horne finished with four tackles, the interception and one quarterback hurry.
Green hit Church for a short touchdown pass three plays later for EIU and the Panthers gave themselves some breathing room on their next offensive possession with Shawn Mitchell picking up a fumble near the goal line and running the ball in from two yards out to put EIU up 49-28.
Beard added to his big receiving day to account for APSU’s final score. He caught a 46-yard pass from Mitchell. Beard had 11 catches for 176 yards and two scores. Mitchell was 15-of-22 for 211 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions with Horne picking off the pass in the fourth quarter. Cornelius Page picked off a long pass at the end of the first half.
Anderson found pay dirt with 4:53 to play which put the Panthers over the 50-point mark for the game. Anderson averaged 9.9 yards per carry with 13 carries for 129 yards. Church had 139 yards on the ground while catching four passes for 45 yards. Aaron Gooch was the Panthers top offensive target with five catches for 55 yards.
EIU is now 3-1 on the season, 1-0 in the OVC. The Panthers return to action next week at Southeast Missouri. APSU is 0-3 on the season, 0-2 in the OVC.