Panthers pile up yardage to grab season's first win

Panthers pile up yardage to grab season's first win
Harry Woodbery threw five touchdown in Eastern's win Saturday at Tennessee Tech. (Photo courtesy of EIUPanthers.com)

In order to get its first win of the 2018 season, Eastern Illinois got a historic offensive performance.

The Panthers (1-4) evened their Ohio Valley Conference at 1-1 Saturday night in a 52-38 victory at Tennessee Tech thanks to 599 yards of offense, the team’s most in a single game in more than two years.

Junior quarterback Harry Woodbery, in his first career start, threw for 339 yards and five touchdowns to help EIU roll up 599 total yards. That total is the highest since Eastern had 641 yards against Austin Peay on Sept. 24, 2016.

Woodbery was 32-for-49 passing and got a big boost from a running game that piled up 260 yards, including 161 from senior Isaiah Johnson.

In last week’s 41-40 loss to Tennessee State, Woodbery replaced Johnathan Brantley after an intense pass rush included several hits on Brantley.

Senior wide receiver Alexander Hollins caught a pair of touchdown passes against Tennessee Tech among his nine receptions for 101 yards. Through five games, Hollins leads all FCS players with nine TD catches and ranks second with 601 receiving yards.

James Sheehan, the Panthers’ junior tight end, also caught a pair of touchdowns as Eastern built a 31-10 third-quarter lead. For the third consecutive game, the Panthers’ put up at least 40 points.

A defense that has endured massive issues this season gave up only 10 points over the first 43 minutes.

5 Stats That Stood Out

2 – Sacks by senior defensive end Levi Watson, who leads the team with three total this season.

6 – EIU scoring drives of more than 74 yards in the victory.

9 – Career-high tackles by senior defensive back Javon Turner, who is playing his first season on defense.

38 – Total first downs for EIU.

110 – Rushing yards gained in the season’s first four games combined by Johnson.

Up next

Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 6 p.m. Saturday Oct. 6, at Charleston.

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