Football team steals win from Miami-Ohio


Justin Brown

Red-shirt junior quarterback Mitch Kimble found Devin Church for a 7-yard score to beat Miami of Ohio Saturday in Oxford, Ohio. It was Kimble's first win as the Panthers' starting quarterback.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor


Miami of Ohio out-rushed, out-passed and had 86 more total yards than the Panthers, but that did not matter in the final three minutes of Saturday’s game.

Red-shirt junior quarterback Mitch Kimble marched the Panthers down the field with 2:35 left in the game, trailing by three points.

With 56 seconds left in the game, Kimble found red-shirt running back Devin Church, and he maneuvered his way up the middle for a game-winning 7-yard touchdown pass to win the game, 21-17.

Turnovers were a big part of last week’s loss, and for Kimble, Coach Kim Dameron and the rest of the Panthers, the key for Saturday’s game was execution. Kimble threw just one interception while tossing three touchdown passes.

Kimble has been in the spotlight for Eastern in the first two games, and his performance Saturday against Miami-Ohio earned him Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week and also OVC Newcomer of the Week honors.

He did not throw for nearly as many passing yards as he did against Western, but what mattered this time around was his execution.

Kimble was 19-for-32 passing with 150 yards with three touchdowns and just one interception. Not only was the 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound quarterback using his arm to get the job done, he even rolled out and picked up some rushing yards for the Panthers.

He rushed for 49 yards, including a 14-yard pick up. Kimble was actually the Panthers’ leading rusher. Church had just 38 yards on the ground in 18 attempts. And red-shirt junior Korliss Marshall had 27 rushing yards.

All of this happened after a lightning delay, which lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes, and it ended with Eastern getting its first Football Bowl Subdivision win since 2013 and the sixth win in program history.

Eastern’s last win against an FBS opponent was a 40-19 win against San Diego State.

Things seemed to be falling apart when the Panthers went for a 29-yard field goal but could not get the snap down for junior kicker Nick Bruno to kick, giving the ball back to Miami with a 17-7 lead late in the third quarter.

Luckily for the Panthers, Miami’s kicker Sam Sloman missed a 33-yard field, hitting the right upright eight minutes into the fourth quarter. From then on, it was all Eastern.

“I truly believe that when you come from a program that has the pride that this one has, there’s just something about it,” Dameron said. “These kids didn’t want to let anyone down. They wanted to get an FBS win, and that was one of those goals plus we had lost the last two games. Losing three straight is something that we didn’t want to do.”

Eastern earned a big win over Miami Saturday, but it will not get any easier for the Panthers this coming week, as they will take on in-state rival Illinois State on their home turf.

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