Eastern football team seeking redemption on road against NIU


Justin Brown

Eastern quarterback Mitch Kimble fires a pass August 31 at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Ind. Kimble threw a game-winning touchdown pass to lead the Panthers over Indiana State 22-20.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor


The last time the Eastern football team and the Northern Illinois Huskies met was in 2013 when Jimmy Garoppolo was the quarterback of the Panthers.

The Huskies got the best of the Panthers and handed Eastern one of its two losses that season. Eastern finished 12-2 in 2013.

And looking back on the game, it is one that left a sour taste in the Panthers’ mouth and one that they would want to forget.

It was an offensive party for both sides. Garoppolo threw for 450 yards and finished the game 34-49 passing. His counterpart Jordan Lynch, who spent some time with the Chicago Bears, finished the game with 235 passing yards and completed 21 of 30 passes.

Garoppolo also threw six touchdown passes in the loss. Eastern put together 577 yards of total offense but the defense fell flat and allowed 602 Huskie yards.

Eastern scored 20 points in the first quarter and then the Huskies had the answer by scoring 30 straight points through the second quarter and the first five minutes of the third.

Eastern regained its lead in the game with 9:53 left in the game with Garoppolo’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Erik Lora.

Northern answered right away with 8:25 left in the game to take the lead 43-39 and that is how the game finished.

Garoppolo and the Panther offense ran out of gas and could not put together one last scoring drive.

This time around will be different as most players from both teams have graduated and moved on. The only players that would be left would be redshirt seniors, meaning they were not playing at this time.

Current coach Kim Dameron was not yet at Eastern and now NFL quarterback Garoppolo was still manning the offense.

Northern Illinois and Eastern both had down-to-the-wire finishes to open their respective seasons in 2017. Eastern, of course had its win come in the last seconds, but Northern found itself on the losing end.

The Huskies lost at home against Boston College on a field goal by Colton Lichtenberg with 2:13 left in the game.

A few things that Eastern will have to look out for is that Northern can put together a big offense, having a 300 plus yard game against Boston College. But also, it gave up over 300 yards to Boston College.

And while numbers do say a little bit about a team, it does not mean everything.

Dameron said they can worry about the formations, types of defense or offense teams are going to run, but at the end of the day, it is a player’s game and everything still has to be executed.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. in DeKalb. The Panthers will return home the following week for a game with Illinois State before beginning the Ohio Valley Conference portion of their schedule.

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