SEMO's timely answers shut down Eastern in finale

SEMO's timely answers shut down Eastern in finale

For each big play that Eastern Illinois enjoyed Saturday at Southeast Missouri, the Redhawks had answers.

In the Panthers’ 2018 season finale, FCS playoff-bound SEMO used its powerful offense to put stubborn EIU away, 38-32.

Eastern (3-8) closed within six points on three different occasions, but couldn’t overcome the Redhawks (8-3).

Perhaps the biggest answer came with 6:52 left in the game when Alexander Hollins caught a seven-yard TD pass for EIU, cutting the Redhawks’ lead to 30-24. On the ensuing kickoff, SEMO’s Zion Custis returned the ball 97 yards to deflate Eastern’s upset bid.

The Panthers closed the gap to 38-32 on Aaron Gooch’s 8-yard scoring pass and a two-point conversion with 34 seconds remaining in the game, but an onside kick failed.

Despite being outgained 494 yards to 371, SEMO did not commit a turnover and was aided by junior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina’s efficiency, connecting on 30 of 38 passing attempts.

Eastern threw two interceptions, one of which led to a SEMO touchdown.

5 Stats That Stood Out

0 – Sacks for Eastern in the loss. EIU’s defense finished with 10 sacks in 11 games this season.

3-8 – Final record for EIU this fall, its worst since going 2-9 in 2010 and 2011.

11 – Game-high receptions for EIU senior WR Aaron Gooch. He had 81 yards and a touchdown. Gooch moved into Eastern’s top 10 for career receptions.

78.9 – Completion percentage for SEMO quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, who was 30-for-38 passing.

105 – Rushing yards for EIU senior RB Isaiah Johnson, his third game in a row of more than 100 yards.

Up next

Eastern Illinois opens the 2019 season at Chattanooga on Aug. 31.

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