Eastern Illinois Panthers Postseason Capsule

Eastern Illinois Panthers Postseason Capsule
Hard-hitting linebacker Dytarious Johnson will return for his senior season. (photo by EIUPanthers.com)

Eastern Illinois Panthers

Ohio Valley Conference

Head Coach:  Adam Cushing

Overall Record:  1-11

Conference Record:  1-7

Biggest Win:  It took until Nov. 9, but the Panthers finally broke into the win column with a rousing 49-38 triumph at Tennessee State. Darshon McCullough (155 yards) and Jaelin Benefield (105 yards) each broke the rushing century mark and the EIU defense regrouped and allowed just three second half points.

Most Frustrating Loss: Eastern came within a half-yard of possibly forcing overtime when Murray State defender Cortez Roberts stopped Panther receiver DeWayne Cooks just shy of the goal line as time expired and the Racers held on 24-17.

Returning strengths for 2020:  Eastern returns experience in quarterback Harry Woodbery, receiver Isaiah Hill and promising running back Jaelin Benefield. Meanwhile, the Panther defense is anchored by all-second team OVC linebacker Dytarious Johnson.

Emerging Stars:  RB Jaelin Benefield, LB Jason Johnson, DB JJ Ross

Giving Thanks:   Senior linebacker Joe Caputo was named to the FCSADA Academic All-Star team for the second straight season. The Mount Prospect native and Hershey High School graduate holds a 3.89 GPA in accounting and finance. Caputo finished the season finished tied for the team lead with 67 tackles despite missing three games due to injury.

New Year’s Wish List:  The Panthers find more playmakers the likes of transfer Isaiah Hill. The Minooka High School graduate led the team with 857 total yards despite playing only eight games. Hill, who will enter his junior season, topped Eastern with 57 receptions for 569 yards and four touchdowns.

Biggest Shoes to Fill:  LB Joe Caputo, DL Terrell Greer, TE James Sheehan

Next Up:  Barry Bottino explores Five Burning Questions that face EIU football for 2020.

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