EIU Bounces San Diego State, 40-19

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Published on September 3 2013 6:21 pm
Last Updated on September 3 2013 6:21 pm
Written by Millie Lange

SAN DIEGO – The last time Eastern Illinois played San Diego State in Qualcomm Stadium, the Panthers lost as the Aztecs beat a Tony Romo led Panthers team 40-7.  With senior Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm Saturday night the Panthers scored 40 points during a 40-19 victory.

The win was the fifth by the Panthers over an FBS school and the first since beating Eastern Michigan in 2004.

EIU’s defense did its job limiting San Diego State to only 122 yards rushing and four field goals by Wes Feer.

The Panther football team accumulated 533 yards of total of offense with Garoppolo passing for 361 yards and three touchdowns.  Garoppolo was 31-of-46.

With the game tied at 19 with 10:57 left in the third quarter, the Panthers scored 21 unanswered points to secure the victory. EIU’s defense held the Aztecs to only a Feer 38-yard field goal in the second half.

EIU picked off four Adam Dingwell passes with Alex McNulty coming up with two.  Dingwell passed for 318 yards on 27-of-63 passes.  The Panthers had four sacks.

Keiondre Gober put EIU up 19-13 with 3:22 left in the first half as he hauled in a 62-yard pass from Garoppolo.  Gober finished with six catches for 140 yards.  EIU missed the extra point, one of two missed on the night.  SDSU trailed 19-16 at the half as Feer knocked home a 22-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to cut the Panthers margin to three.

Taylor Duncan rushed for 92 yards with two second half touchdowns as the Panthers ground game finished with 172 yards.  Duncan scored on a two-yard run at the 7:36 left in the third quarter to break the 19-19 tie.  Duncan iced the game with a 45-yard touchdown with 4:30 left in the game.

Sheperd Little scored to open the fourth quarter on a 60-yard punt return.  Erik Lora caught two first half touchdowns for EIU finishing with ten catches for 87 yards.

The solid defensive effort was spearheaded by Jourdan Wickliffe and Adam Gristick with ten tackles each.  EIU has 11 pass break-ups with DJ Bland knocked down five and intercepting another pass.  EIU’s rebuilt front four finished with 11 tackles for loss.

EIU returns to action on Sept. 7 at in-state foe Southern Illinois. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.

Alex McNulty named National co-Defensive Player of Week

Eastern Illinois defensive back Alex McNulty was named the National co-Defensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network released on Monday morning.  McNulty helped the Panthers knock off Mountain West Conference opponent San Diego State, 40-19, in the opener.  It was one of eight wins by FCS programs over FBS schools this weekend.

McNulty had two of EIU’s four interceptions as they limited the Aztecs to 19 points with the one touchdown coming on a run reverse.  The remaining SDSU points came on four field goals.  McNulty and his defensive backfield teammates added 11 pass break-ups as the defensive front had four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.  McNulty finished with five tackles, one tackle for loss and two additional pass break-ups.  He returned his two pass interceptions for 51 yards.

The Panthers return to action on Saturday against in-state rival Southern Illinois at 6 p.m.  EIU’s home opener is Sept. 14 against Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic.  Season and single game tickets are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com

The other Sports Network National Players of the Week were Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams as offensive player of the week, Charleston Southern linebacker Calvin Bryant as co-defensive player of the week, Samford return man Fabian Truss as specialist of the week and Stetson linebacker Donald Payne as freshman of the week.