EIU Moves Into Top Ten in FCS Polls

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Published on September 17 2013 2:46 pm
Last Updated on September 17 2013 2:51 pm
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois moved into the top ten in both major FCS polls on Monday afternoon following the Panthers 57-24 win over nationally ranked Illinois State in the 102nd Mid-America Classic.  EIU climbed one spot to 8th in the Sports Network poll and two spots to 10th in the FCS Coaches poll.

EIU returns to action this Saturday when the Panthers play at Northern Illinois.  The Huskies played in the Orange Bowl last season and are ranked No. 29 in this week’s Associated Press poll after beating Iowa and Idaho on the road.  Kick off in DeKalb at Huskie Stadium is 6 p.m. with the game being televised on ESPN3.

EIU is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2009 season when the Panthers opened the year with a 4-0 record.  Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo set the school record for touchdown passes in a single game with seven in the win over ISU while wide receiver Erik Lora became the OVC career leader in pass receptions in the win.

North Dakota State remained the number one team in both polls with all 26 first place votes in the FCS Coaches poll and 154 of the 156 votes in the Sports Network poll.  The two polls differed slightly following the number one ranking for the Bison.

In the Sports Network poll Eastern Washington had the other two first place votes and held on to second place followed by Montana State in third and Towson in fourth.  Sam Houston State was fifth with South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Eastern Illinois, Montana and Wofford rounding out the top ten.  New Hampshire was 11th followed by McNeese State, Central Arkansas, Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, Stony Brook, James Madison, Cal Poly, Bethune-Cookman and Villanova in the top twenty.

UT Martin was ranked 24th as the only other Ohio Valley Conference in either poll after beating Central Arkansas for the Skyhawks second win this season over an FCS ranked team.  Fordham was No. 21 with Lehigh, Richmond, UTM and Northern Arizona in the final five spots.

In the FCS Coaches poll Montana State moved up to second followed by Towson and Eastern Washington.  Sam Houston State was fifth with South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Wofford, New Hampshire and Eastern Illinois rounding out the top ten.  Montana was 11th with Stony Brook, McNeese State, Central Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, James Madison, Bethune-Cookman, Lehigh, Cal Poly, Richmond, Fordham, Northern Arizona, Villanova, Illinois State and Maine completing the poll.

Garoppolo Named Sports Network National Offensive Player of Week

Eastern Illinois senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the Sports Network National Offensive Player of the Week on Monday following his performance in the Panthers 57-24 win over nationally ranked Illinois State in the 102nd Mid-America Classic.

In addition to his Sports Network honors, Garoppolo was named the National Player of the Week by College Sports Journal and College Football Performance Awards.

Garoppolo set the EIU school record with seven touchdown passes in the win with six of the touchdown strikes coming in the first half when Garoppolo did most of his damage.  The Panthers raced out to a 44-10 halftime lead with Garoppolo 22-of-36 for 438 yards.  He finished the day 26-of-41 for 480 yards with his record setting touchdown pass coming at the start of the fourth quarter.

Garoppolo helped engineer a school record day on total offense as the Panthers finished with 739 yards of total offense.  As an individual Garoppolo became the Panthers career leader in pass completions passing current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.  Garoppolo also passed Payton for second on the EIU career touchdown passes list as he now chases current Dallas Cowboys signal caller Tony Romo for the school and OVC record.  Romo’s mark is 85.  Garoppolo now has 79.

EIU Game To Be On ESPN3

Eastern Illinois game this Saturday at Northern Illinois will be televised on ESPN3 as part of the Mid-American Conference television package.  This will be the first of four EIU regular season games that will air on ESPN3 this season.  EIU will be carried on ESPN3 three times as part of the Ohio Valley Conference’s Game of the Week Package.