The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Galloway secures win for Panthers in first game back from injury

Galloway’s 56-yard field goal was the second longest field goal in school history
Senior+kicker+Stone+Galloway+kicks+a+56+yard+field+goal+to+put+the+panthers+ahead+of+Mcneese+St+cowboys+with+20+seconds+left+at+O%E2%80%98Brien+Field+Saturday+afternoon.+The+panthers+won+31-28.
Tyriq Johnson
Senior kicker Stone Galloway kicks a 56 yard field goal to put the panthers ahead of Mcneese St cowboys with 20 seconds left at O‘Brien Field Saturday afternoon. The panthers won 31-28.

20 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter and a 56-yard field goal attempt is what stood between the Eastern Illinois football team and its third win of the 2023 season.

But the adversity was no match for senior kicker Stone Galloway.

Galloway ran onto O’Brien Field for the first time this season due to a groin injury, settled in between the uprights, and successfully sealed the 31-28 win for the Panthers over McNeese State Saturday evening.

O’Brien Field erupted in cheers but there were two voices that seemed a little bit louder than the rest: Galloway’s parents Alyssa and Tony Galloway.

Galloway and his parents embraced each other on the sidelines after the final whistle, tears flowing down each of their faces.

“Like a dream, like a miracle, like Jesus is taking care of all of us,” Alyssa Galloway said when asked what it was like to watch the ball go over.

Tony Galloway said that his son had been wanting moments like this to come.

“And so when it comes, then you’re like ‘did I really want his moment to happen?” Tony Galloway said. “But he just remains so chill. Every kick is the same to him.”

Galloway said that it felt really good to complete the kick for his team.

“You know, I’ve been out for the first three games, I thought it was going to be four and you know, it was hurting just because I wasn’t gonna be able to be there for them,” Galloway said. “But it was just amazing.”

The Panthers took their first possession of the game and ran with it.

Redshirt freshman running back MJ Flowers ran up the left side of the field on his second carry of the game for 65 yards.

Junior wide receiver Eli Mirza celebrates after he scores a touchdown against McNeese cowboys at O‘Brien Field Saturday afternoon. (Tyriq Johnson)

This set up redshirt junior quarterback Pierce Holley to hit junior wide receiver Eli Mirza at the Cowboys’ one-yard line. On the very next play, Holley ran the ball in for a touchdown, putting the Panthers up 7-0.

This sequence was just a small glimpse into the historic performance by Flowers. Flowers would go on to rush for 272 yards on 37 attempts.

He is now the third best player in Panther history for rushing yards in a single game, knocking off Nate Anderson who rushed for 268 yards in 1973 against St. Joseph.

Flowers’ parents Chavonne and Monty Flowers Sr. were in attendance for Flowers’ historic performance.

“We were really excited,” Chavonne Flowers said. “We’ve been waiting for him to run the ball a little bit more. We were patient, he was patient, and humble. We were just pumped.”

Monty Flowers Sr. said that MJ has all the character basics and morals to perform on the field.

“I’m very proud and I’m humbled and it’s an honor to God, you know, God gave him the strength and everything to do what he do and keep him protected,” Monty Flowers Sr. said.

Flowers was all smiles after the game on the sideline. He said that working hard in practice this week led to his success.

“I was able to come out, we were able to get the good win and my performance helped to that,” Flowers said. “I can’t ask for much more.”

MJ Flowers, a Freeshman running back, runs the ball behind redshirt sophmore, Johnathan Arellano at O‘Brien Field Saturday afternoon.
The EIU Panthers beat the McNeese Cowboys 31-28. (Tyriq Johnson)

The win did not come easy for the Panthers. There was a series of penalties in the first half that led to the Cowboys taking a 28-14 lead at halftime.

Head coach Chris Wilkerson said that the first half was about as poorly as the Panthers could play.

“Penalties, bogged down in the redzone, didn’t tackle very well on defense, a lot of things that are correctable,” Wilkerson said. “You know, coming off an emotional high last week, as much as you talk about it as a coaching staff, we knew it was going to be hard to regain our momentum.”

To begin the second half, both teams forced each other to punt during their respective opening possessions.

In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Panthers were able to cut the lead to 28-21 after Flowers was able to run in the ball on a six-yard carry.

The Cowboys used nine plays to advance 44 yards into Panther territory to set up a 48-yard field goal attempt to end the drive. However, the kick was unsuccessful.

Fifth year running back Juwon Farri runs the ball into McNeese St cowboys defenders at O‘Brien Field Saturday afternoon. (Tyriq Johnson)

The momentum shifted to the Panthers’ favor when fifth year running back Juwon Farri was able to take the ball to the endzone on a 19-yard carry, tying the game 28-28.

The Panthers are currently 3-1, the best they’ve started since 2016.

The Panthers will look to secure their fourth win of the season on the road over Northwestern State next Saturday at 6 p.m.

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

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Autumn Schulz
Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor
Autumn Schulz is a junior sports media relations major. She previously served as the assistant sports editor at The News.

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