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Eastern football team travels to Southeast Missouri for finale

Eastern+linebacker+Dytaroius+Johnson+prepares+to+hit+an+Austin+Peay+all+carrier+in+the+Panther%E2%80%99s+55-21+win+over+the+Governors+on+Nov.+11.+Eastern+is+3-4+in+conference+play+and+has+a+chance+to+move+to+4-4+Saturday+against+Southeast+Missouri.
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Eastern football team travels to Southeast Missouri for finale

Eastern linebacker Dytaroius Johnson prepares to hit an Austin Peay all carrier in the Panther’s 55-21 win over the Governors on Nov. 11. Eastern is 3-4 in conference play and has a chance to move to 4-4 Saturday against Southeast Missouri.

Eastern linebacker Dytaroius Johnson prepares to hit an Austin Peay all carrier in the Panther’s 55-21 win over the Governors on Nov. 11. Eastern is 3-4 in conference play and has a chance to move to 4-4 Saturday against Southeast Missouri.

Adam Tumino

Eastern linebacker Dytaroius Johnson prepares to hit an Austin Peay all carrier in the Panther’s 55-21 win over the Governors on Nov. 11. Eastern is 3-4 in conference play and has a chance to move to 4-4 Saturday against Southeast Missouri.

Adam Tumino

Adam Tumino

Eastern linebacker Dytaroius Johnson prepares to hit an Austin Peay all carrier in the Panther’s 55-21 win over the Governors on Nov. 11. Eastern is 3-4 in conference play and has a chance to move to 4-4 Saturday against Southeast Missouri.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

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The Eastern football team’s final game of the season against Southeast Missouri is going to mean a lot to both teams involved, even though to the ire of both programs, there are no postseason or conference implications.

The game for the Panthers is a chance to close the year with two straight wins and a 4-4 conference record, putting a little icing on a season where Eastern went through many struggles and at one-point hit rock bottom. 

For Southeast Missouri, the game is a chance at redemption. Last week, they lost a conference championship and a potential FCS playoff berth with a loss on the final play of the game to Murray State. Saturday will no doubt be a game the Redhawks would like to win, simply so they don’t have to close the season with a bad taste in their mouths still lingering from the Murray State upset. 

Both teams are coming into the game with scars from the season, Eastern’s appears to be healing, while Southeast Missouri’s is a fresh one. But, both teams will be playing to prove a lot on Saturday. 

Eastern is coming off a big 55-21 win over Austin Peay, but Eastern know it has to be ready to compete hard against the 7-3 Redhawks. 

“We played much better against Austin Peay this past week, but it’s going to take performance much like that or even better to go down and compete with Southeast Missouri and it’s going to be a heck of a Saturday, I think the weather is going to be pretty good.”

Southeast Missouri is still ranked No. 23 in the FCS, so a win over Eastern could get them in the playoffs as an 8-3 team. But, as much as Dameron and Co. would like to see Southeast Missouri be one of two OVC teams along with Jacksonville State to make the playoffs, he does not want their berth to come on the coatails of a win over Eastern. 

“Our football team is really looking forward to going down there and trying to finish the season off the right way,” Dameron said. “And I know we talk a lot about trying to get multiple teams in our league in the playoffs, when you’re on the other end of that and it’s going to come at your expense, you’re going to fight your hind end off to make sure that doesn’t happen even though I’d love to see that, it’s something that we’re fighting our ends off.”

Eastern is going to have to try and contain the OVC’s leading rusher Marquis Terry. Terry leads the conference with 1,141 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns this season and has shown at times that he can completely take over a game. Against Southern Illinois he set the conference single-game record with 311 yards rushing. 

“Very explosive,” Dameron said of Terry. “For a little guy, runs in pads really well, makes you miss, can sight adjust you in the hole, but also can get out on the edge, make you miss and so he is a very dynamic back. And he has got good physicality.”

If it is not Terry doing the damage for the Redhawks, it is quarterback Daniel Santacaterina. He has 24 touchdowns and just seven interceptions this season and is a very efficient passer. 

Santacaterina is familiar to Eastern, he played the Panthers last season as a member of Nothern Illinois and was recruited by the Panthers prior to this season. 

Southeast Missouri is second in the OVC in offense with 39.3 points per game this season and much of that is because of the Terry, Santacaterina duo. 

The Redhawks also are second in the conference on defense, they allow 30.9 points per game and lead the conference in takeaways. 

Eastern knows its heading to face a good football team and is going to have its work cut out for it to finish the season 4-4 in conference play. Meanwhile, Southeast Missouri is fresh off a devastating loss and showed it can be vulnerable. Dameron is most likely right with what he said, Saturday should be a heck of a football game. 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected] 

About the Writer
JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

Hey, I'm JJ Bullock and I am the Sports Editor. I am a junior journalism major. I spent last year as the Assistant Sports Editor. Prior to that I served...

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Eastern football team travels to Southeast Missouri for finale