Football team falls 34-27 in season opener


Rob Le Cates

Huskies’ running back Harrison Waylee, number 30, shakes off two Eastern linebackers during the Panthers’ season opener against Northern Illinois Thursday night at Huskie Stadium. The Panthers lost 34-27.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern football team fell short in its season opener Thursday evening against Northern Illinois 34-27 at Huskie Stadium.

The Panthers found the end zone late in the second quarter after starting quarterback Jonah O’Brien connected with Jaelin Benefield on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The lead was cut to 28-13.

The Panthers would then score again twice in the fourth quarter, ultimately cutting the lead to 34-27. It all came down to 58 seconds left when the Huskies missed a field goal attempt and the Panthers got the ball back.

However, the Panthers could not get it down the field quick enough as time expired.

O’Brien was 25-of-34, passing for 276 yards and three touchdowns, which is the most in a season opener since 2016.

Markenzy Pierre led the rushing game for the Panthers with 101 yards for 14 carries.

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]