Eastern struggles on offense again in loss to Sycamores

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Eastern struggles on offense again in loss to Sycamores

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley throws a pass to Darshon McCullough in Eastern's 16-6 loss to Indiana State Saturday. Eastern had just 200 yards of offense.

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley throws a pass to Darshon McCullough in Eastern's 16-6 loss to Indiana State Saturday. Eastern had just 200 yards of offense.

Adam Tumino

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley throws a pass to Darshon McCullough in Eastern's 16-6 loss to Indiana State Saturday. Eastern had just 200 yards of offense.

Adam Tumino

Adam Tumino

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley throws a pass to Darshon McCullough in Eastern's 16-6 loss to Indiana State Saturday. Eastern had just 200 yards of offense.

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind- The Eastern football team has scored just 19 points in four games this season. It scored just six points in a 16-6 loss to Indiana State on Saturday in yet another anemic showing by an offensive unit desperate for a fix.  

Eastern turned the ball over four times, three interceptions and one fumble, and mustered just 200 total yards of offense, averaging just 3.2 yards per play.  

Head coach Adam Cushing felt the offense started to find a rhythm in the second half, during which Eastern scored its only touchdown, but said the offense really shot itself in the foot with the turnovers. 

“We just beat ourselves,” Cushing said. “I give our kids credit because we battled, we had seen some momentum to our sideline and then we were just out there beating ourselves. And we have said it from day one, you can’t beat two teams in the same day. So, when you beat yourself, you will not beat the other team.” 

The moment of the game that defined Eastern shooting itself in the foot came with 14:48 to play in the game. Eastern trailed Indiana State 13-6 and was pushing the ball down the field looking to tie the game. But quarterback Harry Woodbery fired a ball into double coverage that was intercepted by Indiana State at the 37-yard line. The Sycamores turned that turnover into a field goal and made the game a two-score affair.  

Woodbery said all the responsibility for that turnover fell on him.  

“I kind of stepped a little to the right in the pocket, I had some guys crashing in, I stepped to the right and I have got to get to the next read on that play for a touchdown,” Woodbery said. “I think I was just getting a little greedy, I wanted to make a play for my team, but obviously I can’t do that, you saw what happened. Just have to stick with the reads and play within the offense and not try to do too much.” 

Woodbery finished the game 8-for-22 passing with two interceptions, he relieved Johnathan Brantley at quarterback in the second quarter. Brantley was 4-for-7 with one interception.  

Indiana State scored just one touchdown in another game where Eastern’s defense played tough to beat. The Sycamores touchdown came on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Wilderman to Rontrez Morgan with 33 seconds to play in the first quarter. After that however, the Eastern defense buckled down and limited Indiana State to just two field goals and included a couple of red zone stops against the Sycamores.  

“Coach Cushing harps on us a lot about playing the next play, I think that was the thing,” Eastern defensive lineman Austin Johnson said. “Even with that pass play they had along ur sideline, nobody was there to cover him, we could have easily put our heads down and said ‘oh my gosh they’re on the goal line, but instead we decided ‘you know what, it happened and we can’t do anything about it so let’s play the next one.” 

Austin Johnson finished with a game-high 13 tackles, three for loss.  

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