EIU Garoppolo, Lora Head To East-West Shrine Game

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Published on December 30 2013 3:37 pm
Last Updated on December 30 2013 3:37 pm
Written by Millie Lange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Eastern Illinois seniors Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora combined for 239 catches and 31 touchdowns the last two seasons.  Now the quarterback and wide receiver will have a chance to extend that chemistry in an All-Star game as both players have accepted invitations to the East-West Shrine Game.  The game will take place on January 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Garoppolo was the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner as he earned first team All-American honors this season.  Garoppolo led all quarterbacks with 5,050 yards passing and 53 touchdowns.  The passing total was second all-time on the FCS single season list while the 53 touchdowns were the third most in FCS single season history.  Garoppolo finished his career holding every EIU and Ohio Valley Conference passing record and ranked sixth on the FCS career touchdown passes list and seventh on the career passing yards list.

Lora earned first team All-American honors for the second straight year becoming the first EIU player to accomplish that feat.  Lora hauled in 123 passes for 1,544 yards and 19 touchdowns.  His 123 receptions rank third on the FCS single season list and 13 shy of his FCS single season record set last season.  Lora ended his career as the EIU and OVC leader in pass receptions and receiving yards.  He owns the EIU and OVC single season records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.  He finished his career second on the FCS receptions chart.

The Panthers finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation losing in the FCS Quarterfinal playoff round to end with a 12-2 record.  Garoppolo and Lora both earned first team All-American honors by every publication this season.

The East-West Shrine Game® is the longest running college all-star game in the country. A staple in college football since 1925, the game has consistently proven to be a launch pad for players seeking professional careers in the NFL. More than 100 players from the 88th East-West Shrine Game signed with professional football teams in 2013. On average, more than 275 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each year.