Column: Eastern football team needs a win it deserves

Maher Kawash, Football Reporter

 

Every win is important in college football, especially those that come against conference opponents.

The Eastern football team was able to pick up another one of those this past weekend, but was it just a case of the Panthers getting lucky?

Regardless of how they win by or who they beat, the Panthers and all their fans will be satisfied as long as that number in the win column continues to increase.

But taking a deeper look; it can be said the Eastern has barely gotten by or has just gotten “lucky.”

Now there is nothing to take away from a Panther team that is now 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Ohio Valley Conference play, but it might be time for Eastern to get a convincing win.

Four of the Panthers’ five wins this season have been decided by six points or less.

The one win that was decided by more was Eastern’s 56-35 win against Austin Peay, and that game saw a Panther team that found a way to pull away in the fourth.

As for the other four, Eastern has just barely come out on top.

That may not matter to many, but it would sure boost everybody’s confidence if the Panthers handled a two-win team like Tennessee Tech by more than six points.

But that was not the case for Eastern over the weekend.

The Panthers knocked off Tennessee Tech in a 30-24 win Saturday and maintained their second spot in the OVC standings.

Eastern did pull out the win, but if it were not for a crucial penalty on the final drive of the game, the Panthers may have been upset.

The Panthers were held to just a field goal on their final offensive possession of the game, which led to Tennessee Tech having an opportunity to win the game on the final drive trailing by just six.

But luckily for Eastern, an offensive pass interference penalty call on the Tigers stunted the drive, and allowed the Panthers’ defense to make the most important stop of the game.

Credit to the Panthers for stepping up and following their “bend don’t break” motto that they have all season long.

Eastern was almost bent too much against Tennessee Tech though, as the team once trailed 17-3.

And that is why the Panthers need a convincing win.

Eastern coach Kim Dameron has stressed all season long that every win is hard to come by, but the bar should begin to be raise for the No. 17 ranked team in FCS football.

Whether it comes this weekend against a struggling Murray State squad or in the coming weeks, it is important for the Panthers to take complete control over its opponents and get that convincing win.

The Panthers have searched for a complete game from both sides of the ball, and it is now more important than ever to gain some confidence before heading to Jacksonville State in a couple weeks.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]