Eastern football has hot start

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern football team has had many players contribute to the team’s 5-0 Ohio Valley Conference play start making them one of two undefeated teams in the OVC.

Eastern will look to continue their win streak when they host the other undefeated team in the OVC, Jacksonville State on Saturday.

The Panthers also sit just outside the Football Championship Subdivision Top 25. Eastern sits in 28th place in the rankings.

Senior quarterback Jalen Whitlow has started all eight games for the Panthers and has completed 122 of 219 passes. He has thrown for 1,450 yards and has nine touchdowns with his longest being 80 yards.

Whitlow has also contributed a little bit to the Panthers’ run game. Whitlow has rushed for 301 yards on 96 attempts. He has one rushing touchdown.

Red-shirt junior Devin Church has been the leader of the Panthers’ run game through the first eight games of the year. Church has rushed for 544 yards on 110 attempts with a team leading seven touchdowns.

Church averages 4.9 yards per carry.

Red-shirt senior Shepard Little has also contributed the rushing game scoring five touchdowns on 74 attempts. He has rushed for 331 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Whitlow’s main target for passing has been Church as he has hit him 23 times for 193 yards. Church has two receiving touchdowns.

Red-shirt junior receiver Isaiah Nelson has also been a common target for Whitlow catching 21 passes for 340 yards and one touchdown.

Red-shirt sophomore tight end Addison Bounds is the team leader in receiving touchdowns with three. He has caught 13 passes for 235 yards.

The Panthers defense is led by junior linebacker Seth McDonald who leads the team with 74 tackles, 36 of which are unassisted. McDonald also has 4 tackles for loss totaling 18 yards.

Also making an impact on the Panthers’ defense is senior linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. Grugier-Hill has a team leading 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss totaling 70 yards.

Another Panther impacting the defense is red-shirt defensive tackle Dino Fanti. Fanit has sacked the quarterback three times and also has 13 tackles for a loss that total 35 yards.

Looking up and down the stat sheet, there are many players contributing to the Panthers 5-0 OVC start.

The game against Jacksonville State will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]