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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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Six Panthers that helped secure sixth win of first winning season in 2017

Eastern has obtained their first winning season in six years after they defeated the Lindenwood Lions 16-10 Saturday afternoon.

After three straight games that went down to the crucial plays in the fourth quarter, Eastern’s 16 points in the first quarter helped the Panthers come away with the win.

Here are three Panthers from the offensive side of the ball that helped the Panthers take an early lead:

Pierce Holley, a junior quarter back practice finished the game 18 of 34 for 245 yards against the Lindenwood Lions. (File)
  1. Pierce Holley

To start the first quarter, the redshirt junior quarterback threw a 13-yard pass to graduate wide receiver Justin Thomas, and on the second snap, Holley found Thomas again for a 44-yard pass to get another first down.

  1. Eli Mirza

Five snaps later, Holley threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to the junior wide receiver for an early 10-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

With about 20 seconds left in the first quarter, Mirza rushed for 19 yards to put the Panthers four yards away from an additional six points.

  1. MJ Flowers

With 13 seconds left, the redshirt freshman ran the four yards to give the Panthers a 16-0 lead after senior kicker Stone Galloway’s extra point.

Along with the offense, the defense played a key role in the victory with three interceptions from three different Panthers:

Defensive back Nick Coates recorded his first interception of his collegiate career against the Lindenwood Lions. (File)
  1. Nick Coates

The junior nickel came up with his first career interception and the first of the three interceptions for the Panthers in Saturday’s game.

With four minutes left in the second quarter, Lions’ freshman quarterback Tyler Kubat was pressured by redshirt junior defensive lineman Joel Barrows. As Kubat tried to throw to his target, Coates jumped up to catch the ball to give the Panthers the ball back.

  1. Blake Ruffin

Five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the redshirt sophomore safety picked off a Kubat pass up the center of the field that was no more than 10 yards away from the end-zone.

Ruffin recorded his fourth interception this season as he leads the Panthers in interceptions for the season so far.

With this interception, Ruffin is tied for first place in the Big South-OVC Conference with his four interceptions in nine games.

  1. NiJhay Burt

With nine seconds left in the game, Lions’ redshirt sophomore quarterback Cooper Justice tried to give the Lions a shot to beat the Panthers, but Burt had other plans.

Burt picked off Justice’s pass to secure the win for the Panthers as the clock was winding down.

With this interception, Burt is third in the Big South-OVC Conference with three interceptions in nine games.

The Panthers are now 6-3 overall in the season and 2-2 in the conference.

Eastern is set to play their last home game of the season on Saturday Nov. 11 as the team recognizes their seniors.

The Panthers will compete against Tennessee State at O’Brien Field, and kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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