Whitlow wins 2nd weekly award


Photo courtesy Katie Klann

Redshirt junior Devin Bass defends against Jalen Whitlow of Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Aldo Soto, Sports Editor

Eastern quarterback Jalen Whitlow threw a career-high 289 yards against Ohio and for the second straight game passed for at least one touchdown and ran for at least one touchdown.

The junior added to his team-high rushing total, gaining 112 yards on 15 carries, while scoring his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Whitlow was named Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week for the second week in a row.

After splitting time at quarterback through the first three games, Whitlow was named the outright starter against Austin Peay on Sept. 20. Against Ohio, Whitlow played the entire game, the first time that has happened this season.

Along with a team-high of 395 rushing yards, Whitlow is the No. 1 ranked quarterback in rushing yards in the OVC and ranks No. 3 in rushing yards overall in the conference. His four rushing touchdowns are tied with three other players for the third most in the conference.

Whitlow also has the third most passing yards in the OVC with 793 and is No. 4 in passing yards per game at 158.6 yards. Whitlow is averaging 237.6 yards per game, which is the third most in the conference.

As a team, Eastern averages 192.2 rushing yards per game.

Eastern offensive coordinator Greg Stevens has been a great help for Whitlow, who transferred from Kentucky. Since throwing three interceptions against Illinois State on Sept. 13, Whitlow has thrown for four touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.

“Coach Stevens has helped me a lot with just the fundamentals and the mechanic of being a quarterback,” Whitlow said. “I think I’ve come a little ways since the first game.”

Although Eastern dropped to 1-4, the Panthers’ lone victory came against a conference opponent. Although Eastern is tied with Tennessee-Martin with the worst overall record, it is tied with four other OVC teams with a 1-0 record in conference play.

The Panthers are off this week, which will give red-shirt junior running back Shepard Little one more week to rest his ankle injury. He has missed the last two games.

Eastern resumes conference play on the road against Eastern Kentucky at 5 p.m. on Oct. 11, in Richmond, Ky. The Panthers will play three of their next four OVC games on the road, which includes two straight away from O’Brien Field, as Eastern plays at Southeast Missouri on Oct. 18.

Eastern has not played two straight road conference games since 2012. The Panthers are currently on a 13-game conference winning-streak.

Aldo Soto can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]