EIU Moves Into Top 10 in FCS Polls

Print

Published on September 11 2013 5:32 pm
Last Updated on September 11 2013 5:32 pm
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Eastern Illinois improved to 2-0 with a pair of road wins to open the season and the Panthers were rewarded in the FCS Top 25 polls Monday as they moved into the top ten in the nation for the first time since the end of the 2002 season.

EIU climbed to No. 9 in the Sports Network Top 25 while climbing to No. 12 in the FCS Coaches Poll.  EIU will host Illinois State in its home opener this Saturday with a 6 p.m. start at O’Brien Field in the 102nd playing of the Mid-America Classic.  Season and single game tickets are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com   Illinois State is ranked No. 16 and No. 18 in the polls marking the fourth time that the two schools will play when both programs were nationally ranked.

EIU’s 2-0 start on the road is the first in school history as they picked up their first double overtime victory in school history with the 40-37 win at Southern Illinois.  Jimmy Garoppolo was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week while Robert Haynes was named the OVC Defensive Player of the Week.

The top three schools in the nation remained unchanged with North Dakota State at number one followed by Eastern Washington and Montana State.  NDSU collected all 26 first place votes in the FCS Coaches Poll and 146 first place votes in the Sports Network poll.  EWU had the other six first place votes in the Sports Network voting.

Towson climbed to No. 4 in both polls followed by Sam Houston State and South Dakota State.  Northern Iowa was seventh in the Sports Network poll followed by Central Arkansas, Eastern Illinois and Georgia Southern in the top ten.

The remaining schools in the Sports Network top 25 included Montana, New Hampshire, McNeese State, Cal Poly, Richmond, Wofford, Stony Brook, Illinois State, Villanova, James Madison, Lehigh, Bethune-Cookman, Youngstown State and Northern Arizona.

Central Arkansas was seventh in the FCS Coaches poll with Northern Iowa, New Hampshire and Wofford rounding out the top ten.  The remaining schools in the poll included Richmond, Eastern Illinois, Stony Brook, Cal Poly, Montana, Illinois State, James Madison, McNeese State, Lehigh, Villanova, Coastal Carolina, Bethune-Cookman, Youngstown State, Northern Arizona and Eastern Kentucky.

Eastern Illinois senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the College Sporting News National Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after guiding the Panthers to a double overtime victory at Southern Illinois on Saturday evening.  It marks the second straight week that an EIU player has won a national award; Alex McNulty was the Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week after the Panthers beat San Diego State in the opener.

During the game at SIU, Garoppolo completed 34-of-56 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns.  The 440 yards rank as the fifth best single game performance in school history and the second highest passing total in the FCS this season.  Garoppolo finished with 442 yards of total offense which ranks as the fourth best single game performance in EIU history.  He moved into second place on the Ohio Valley Conference career touchdown passes list with 72 and now just trails former EIU All-American Tony Romo in that category.  Garoppolo currently ranks second in the nation in passing yards per game (400.5) and third in total offense (411.5 yards per game).

The Panthers will host Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic this Saturday at 6 p.m. at O’Brien Field. Season and single game tickets are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com.