Panthers hit the road for Miami-Ohio

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Eastern quarterback Mitch Kimble attempts a pass in the first quarter of the Thursday, Sept. 1 game against Western. Kimble finished with 323 yards passing, completing 18-of-29 attempts and tossing 2 touchdowns in the Panthers' 38-21 loss.

Justin Brown
Eastern quarterback Mitch Kimble attempts a pass in the first quarter of the Thursday, Sept. 1 game against Western. Kimble finished with 323 yards passing, completing 18-of-29 attempts and tossing 2 touchdowns in the Panthers’ 38-21 loss.

Eastern’s loss to Western on Sept. 1, following miscues by the team which lead to Western scoring, makes execution the focus this week leading up to Saturday’s game against Miami-Ohio.

When Eastern squares up with Miami-Ohio on Saturday, the Panthers will be searching for their first win against an FBS team since 2013.

Both the Panthers and the Redhawks are coming off season-opening losses, and for the Panthers, redshirt junior quarterbacks Mitch Kimble and Austin Green can make a big impact.

Kimble and Green will both see playing time just as they did in the Western game. Green played for one drive in the contest and did what Coach Kim Dameron put him out there to do.

Dameron wanted Green to get one drive in the game in the second quarter. He went 4-for-5 on his drive, leading the Panthers down the field.

Kimble’s first career start at Eastern had it’s ups and downs, but his 323 passing yards shows he can really throw the football and stands out a bit more heading into the game.

The turnovers happened in his first game, but he has put those behind him, and this week he is focused on holding onto the ball and execution.

“Obviously we’re looking forward to Miami of Ohio, but we’re also just focusing on ourselves and making sure that everyone is getting better everyday. We’ve been practicing like it’s a game.”

Kimble was not the only player on the team who made mistakes that game. Eastern failed to recover Western’s pooch kick, which is why Dameron and his Panther team are focused more on execution this week than anything.

The thing with Kimble is that he is the quarterback, his mistakes are amplified a bit more than someone on the defensive line, Dameron said.

“(Kimble) has worked extremely hard this week as we all have, just correcting those mistakes,” Dameron said.

In the Redhawks’ last game, it was Iowa’s running game that propelled the Hawkeyes’ to their 24-point victory; something the Panthers did not utilize in their game against Western.

Although Miami-Ohio lost to Iowa, its offense did put up 21 points against the Big Ten School, showing after just one game that its offense is well rounded.

“They do a good job offensively keeping you off balance,” Dameron said. “They’re very balanced offensively, and they can throw the football.”

Defensively, the Redhawks are strong, Dameron said. And when it comes down to it, it is Kimble’s and the rest of the offense’s job to attack.

“They have some weaknesses, but our coaches are putting together a good game plan and we’re going to attack them,” Kimble said. “But again, our biggest focus on ourselves. If we were to play our game again last week, we’d be able to beat those guys. But now we’re focusing on Miami.”

The Panthers’ defense held strong against Western, as they had their back against their own end zone to start drives.

Eastern and the Redhawks will get underway in Oxford, Ohio, at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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