EIU Football Ranked No. 18 In Preseason Poll


Published on June 14 2013 12:58 pm
Last Updated on June 14 2013 12:58 pm
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois football has been ranked No. 18 in the preseason poll by Lindy’s College Football Magazine.  In addition senior wide receiver Erik Lora has been tabbed the FCS preseason Offensive Player of the Year by the publication.

EIU, the defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion, was picked as the favorite to win this year’s OVC race.  The Panthers return three starters on the offensive line (Collin Seibert, Dominic Pagliara and Alex Pierce) along with Lora and Walter Payton Award finalist senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.  On defense the Panthers return eight starters led by All-OVC selections Nick Beard, Pat Wertz and LeQuince McCall.

Lora was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year after finishing fourth in voting for last year’s Walter Payton Award.  Lora set the FCS single season record with 136 catches for 1,664 yards (fourth most in FCS history).  Lora was the OVC Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American.

Following the Panthers in the OVC predictions by Lindy’s were Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, UT Martin, Murray State, Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech, Southeast Missouri and Austin Peay.

EIU was ranked No. 18 in the Lindy’s poll, the second preseason national ranking for the Panthers this year.  EIU was ranked No. 19 in the preseason poll by Sporting News.

Lindy’s preseason top 25 had two-time defending national champion North Dakota State picked first followed by Georgia Southern, Montana State, South Dakota State, Wofford, Eastern Washington, Central Arkansas, Towson, Villanova and Sam Houston State in the top ten.  New Hampshire was 11th followed by Appalachian State, Northern Iowa, Stony Brook, Coastal Carolina, Northern Arizona, Bethune-Cookman, EIU, Youngstown State and Chattanooga.  The final five schools in the preseason rankings were Richmond, Illinois State, Montana, Wagner and Tennessee State.

EIU opens the season on Aug. 31 at San Diego State.  The Panthers home opener will be on Sept. 14 in the Mid-America Classic against Illinois State.  Season tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com.