Panthers to play final game of season

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The spring season will come to an end Sunday when the Eastern football team hosts No. 25 Austin Peay at O’Brien Field.

For the Panthers, it will be their third-straight game against a ranked opponent to end the season. It is only the third time in program history that the Panthers will face a ranked team in three-straight weeks and the first time since 1992.

The Panthers lost to No. 12 Murray State two games ago and No. 13 Jacksonville State last week.

Austin Peay earned its No. 25 ranking by beating Jacksonville State and Murray State in the last two games.

The Governors owe much of their success this season to their offense.

They rank second in the OVC in points per game, averaging 29.7 behind redshirt-sophomore running back Brian Snead, freshman quarterback Draylen Ellis and senior wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson.

In conference play this season, Snead is averaging 108.5 rushing yards per game, the most in the conference by nearly 18 yards. He also has 4 rushing touchdowns on the season.

Ellis has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the OVC, ranking second with 1,270 yards through the air.

He also leads the conference with 14 passing touchdowns and has ran for a pair of scores as well.

Ellis threw 6 touchdowns against Southeast Missouri March 14 and followed that performance by throwing for 4 touchdowns and a season-high 305 yards in the next game against Tennessee-Martin.

On the other end of 37 of Ellis’ passes has been Wilson, the OVC’s leading receiver.

He also leads the OVC in receiving yards with 562, 117 more than the second-ranked player, and an average of 112.4 yards per game.

For Eastern, senior quarterback Harry Woodbery will enter the game with several milestones in reach.

With just 10 yards, Woodbery can move into 13th place in career passing yards at Eastern and can get into the top 10 with 183 yards.

He is coming off of his best game of the season against Jacksonville State, in which he threw for 220 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown in the game.

A pair of Panther running backs can also move up the conference leaderboards this weekend.

Freshman Jordan Smith and sophomore Jaelin Benefield rank ninth and 10th in the OVC in rushing yards with 278 and 258 yards respectively.

The game will also be a chance for sophomore linebacker Jason Johnson to pad his conference lead in tackles this season.

He has 66 total tackles, the most in the OVC by a margin of 12. This also puts him eight in all of the FCS in tackles this season.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]