The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Top Cat: Catch 22

On the third play from scrimmage Saturday, Eastern sophomore wide receiver Erik Lora jogged to the line of scrimmage with two questions on his mind.

What is the defense doing? What am I doing?

Lora said given the play that is called in the huddle, he can choose to run one of multiple routes, depending on what the defense is doing.

“It all depends on what play it is,” Lora said. “I could have a streak or I could have a flat route.”

Based on the offensive play call made by Eastern offensive coordinator Roy Wittke, Lora has options.

On the third play from scrimmage, he read the defense and ran a short route, catching his first of 11 passes for four yards.

Lora had 11 catches for 102 yards Saturday in Eastern’s loss to Tennessee Martin, 20-10.

With his performance on the field, Lora became the first Panther to have 10 or more receptions since October 2007, when Micah Rucker had 11.

He didn’t only perform well in the passing game, though. Lora started off the team’s second drive with a big run.

Eastern was running a reverse, Lora said, which sends a receiver in motion for the quarterback to hand the ball off to.

Lora said he got a few good blocks and ran up field for 11 yards.

The result of the play pumped up his team, Lora said, but the play call in the huddle was motivation enough because the play was risky.

“It could be a negative eight-yard loss or a 50-yard run,” Lora said.

He said when red-shirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Large made the play call in the huddle the team was pumped.

“When I’m in the huddle and hear that play, it kind of pumps the adrenaline through my body,” Lora said.

On his third reception of the game, Lora caught a pass for a 19-yard gain, his longest reception of the game.

After the play, Lora said he knew he was having a big game.

“I broke a few tackles,” Lora said. “It got the team pumped up and I said ‘look it’s time for me to step up’.”

For the rest of the game, Lora stepped up into his role as a leading receiver. Many of his 102 yards, came after the catch. He said he has improved in that area.

Lora said after the catch, he has taken a more aggressive approach to getting up field with the ball and eating up yardage.

The key, he said, is to never stop moving.

“Don’t stop your feet,” Lora said. “Just kind of keep running. Just try to break tackles and get away from them.”

Lora said no receiver wants to get hit, so it’s natural for him to try and run away from defenders.

All of the receivers are doing a good job this season, especially in trying to lead a young offense, Lora said

However, Lora said it’s difficult because the receivers rely on the quarterback to get the receivers the ball, and the offensive line to give the quarterback enough time to do so.

Lora and fellow sophomore receivers Chris Wright and Kenny Whittaker are trying to step up and take bigger roles on the team.

“I think we do have a big role because of injuries and being in the spread offense that we are in,” Lora said.

Although Lora passed the century mark for receiving yards Saturday, he wasn’t able to get a touchdown. But he was close many times, he said.

“The team was hoping someone would score,” Lora said. “But it would’ve been great if I could’ve scored one.”

The team needed something extra, in their 20-10 loss, but Lora tried his best. Given his performance, Lora said he would still rather have a win then 100 yards or 10 receptions.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944

or [email protected]

Top Cat: Catch 22

Top Cat: Catch 22

Erik Lora, sophomore wide receiver for the Panthers, coming off an 11 reception game against University of Tennessee at Martin last Saturday, prepares for his upcoming game against Jacksonville State. (Cody Rich


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