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

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Holley’s successful 2-point conversion gives Panthers the win

Eastern is 1-0 as this was their first time facing Bryant.
Eastern+football+players+and+coaches+celebrate+after+quarterback+Pierce+Holley+scores+in+overtime+to+win+the+game+against+Bryant+University+Bulldogs+at+O%E2%80%98Brien+Field+saturday+afternoon.+The+panthers+defeated+the+bulldogs+25-24+in+overtime.
Tyriq Johnson
Eastern football players and coaches celebrate after quarterback Pierce Holley scores in overtime to win the game against Bryant University Bulldogs at O‘Brien Field saturday afternoon. The panthers defeated the bulldogs 25-24 in overtime.

The Panthers added another thrilling overtime game to the season; this time ending in a win.

Likewise to the University of Tennessee-Martin overtime loss two weeks ago, Panthers’ Head Coach Chris Wilkerson elected to go for a game winning two-point conversion against the Bryant Bulldogs.

The similarities between these two plays ended when redshirt junior quarterback Pierce Holley ran a quarterback sneak into the end zone to put Eastern up 25-24, winning the game.

“Just get in the end zone, that’s basically all it was,” Holley said with a smile on his face minutes after he scored the walk off conversion.

Holley was also responsible for the touchdown just before this two-point conversion. He rushed up the middle for two yards and scored, breaking through the Bulldogs’ defensive line.

The overtime touchdown and conversion was just a taste of Holley’s dominant day on the field.

On his legs alone, he recorded 42 yards on 17 attempts as well as three rushing touchdowns. His three touchdowns were the only points EIU put up during the game, besides a lone Stone Galloway field goal.

When asked if Holley was prepared to get as many rushing attempts as he did, he responded by saying it was always part of the Panthers game-plan.

“It was,” Holley said. “Probably not as much as it ended up being, we had some scrambles, but it was definitely part of the game-plan to get me running the ball more.”

Alongside his superb rushing stats, Holley recorded 244 passing yards on 21 completions from 29 attempts as well as one interception.

Along with Holley’s performance, credit must be given to the four running backs that moved the ball efficiently down the field.

Junior Kendi Young took over the game in the second half, rushing for 69 yards on just 11 attempts. All of these attempts took place after halftime.

Young was helped by fifth year Juwon Farri who carried the ball three times for 23 yards in the second half.

The first half saw the usual lightning and thunder backfield of redshirt freshman MJ Flowers and redshirt sophomore Kevin Daniels.

Flowers finished the game with six rushes for 34 yards, while Daniels recorded eight rushes for 60 yards. Both running backs were taken out after halftime.

Wilkerson added how essential it was for the team to get the running game going and how impressed he was with the blocking team wise.

“We struggled a little bit the past couple of weeks running the football, [and] we knew that’s something we needed to do a little bit more efficiently,” Wilkerson said. “All of our running backs are quality, but it starts up front. Our offensive line did a good job getting a hat on a hat, and our receivers did a good job of blocking.”

All told, the Panthers dominant running game led to the win this Saturday. A win that keeps our positive record alive as we now move to 5-3.

“It’s a team effort when we run the football, and I was pleased with that today,” Coach Wilkerson said.

Eastern has a bye week coming up threw the Halloween weekend. The Panthers will return to play at Lindenwood on Nov. 4.

Kickoff will be at 2 p.m.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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