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

Turnovers a trend for team, 21 to date

The Eastern football team committed six turnovers Saturday in a 35-7 loss to Eastern Kentucky. The Panthers have committed 21 turnovers this season.

Freshman quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had trouble this season with turnovers, as he has thrown eight interceptions. This season, Garoppolo is throwing four interceptions for every touchdown (two touchdowns and eight interceptions).

Saturday, Garoppolo threw two interceptions on Saturday; however, his two picks weren’t the worst turnover statistic. Eastern fumbled the ball four times and EKU recovered each time.

Eastern offensive coordinator Roy Wittke said the Panthers didn’t handle the ball well Saturday, including Garoppolo and senior running back Mon Williams.

Garoppolo fumbled on a fourth down play late in the game, while Williams fumbled when Eastern tried to run a “special formation” play.

The “special formation,” which is a variation of the wildcat formation, is when the running back (Williams) lines up where the quarterback usually would in the shotgun.

On Garoppolo’s second interception, Wittke said he had to give credit to the cornerback who interception it for making a great play.

“That is one I felt they made one heck of a play on the ball,” Wittke said.

EKU junior cornerback Patrick McClellan made the play.

Wittke said committing six turnovers was frustrating because the offense has been focusing on not committing turnovers so often.

Running game struggles

EKU out-rushed Eastern Saturday 287-29. The 29-yard total was the Panthers’ lowest total on the ground this season.

Going into the game, Wittke said the strength of the Colonels on defense was their toughness up the middle with two interior defensive linemen and senior middle linebacker Jordan Dalrymple.

“We had difficulty with them,” Wittke said.

The defensive line got into the Eastern backfield often, and registered six sacks on Garoppolo. EKU red-shirt freshman Shawn Shupperd recorded 1-1/2 sacks, leading the team. He also forced and recovered one fumble.

EKU sophomore linebacker Nick Vicini recorded the biggest sack of the game, causing Eastern to lose 10 yards.

The Panthers were only able to get to EKU sophomore quarterback TJ Pryor two times, allowing him to run for 78 yards and three touchdowns, which led all rushers on either team.

The loss of yards on sacks was part of the reason Wittke said the team didn’t rush for as many yards. Eastern lost a total of 79 yards Saturday, balancing out the 105 yards it gained for a net yardage of 29 yards.

Williams had one of the worst games in his career, finishing the day with a net yardage of minus two yards.

Whittaker, Ricks have big games

Red-shirt junior wide receiver Lorence Ricks had the most all-purpose yards Saturday of any player on either team.

Along with 64 receiving yards, including his first touchdown of the season and Eastern’s only touchdown of the game, he recorded 113 kick return yards for a total of 177 all-purpose yards.

Sophomore wide receiver Kenny Whittaker also had a big game, catching nine passes for 102 yards.

Eastern will try for its first win Saturday in Cookville, Tenn. against Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. Eastern is 0-6 this season, 0-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

TTU is 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the OVC.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected]

Turnovers a trend for team, 21 to date

Turnovers a trend for team, 21 to date

Red shirt senior corner back Rashad Haynes tackles red shirt senior running back Henry Harris during Eastern’s game against Southeast Missouri Oct. 2 at O’Brien Field. (Danny Damiani


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