EIU Players Win Weekly Football Awards

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Published on October 23 2013 11:30 am
Last Updated on October 23 2013 11:30 am
Written by Millie Lange

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- Eastern Illinois won two of the Ohio Valley Conference weekly football awards as Jimmy Garoppolo was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week and Shepard Little was named the OVC Newcomer of the Week.

EIU improved to 6-1 on the season, 3-0 in the OVC on Saturday with a 55-33 win over Southeast Missouri. EIU travels to Tennessee State this Saturday for a 4 p.m. kickoff at LP Field in Nashville. It will be a match-up between the final two undefeated teams in the OVC Championship race. EIU ranks first in the nation in scoring offense and total offense. TSU ranks second in the nation in both scoring defense and total defense.

Garoppolo had another record breaking day for the Panthers as he became the career passing leader for Eastern Illinois breaking New Orleans head coach Sean Payton's career mark. Garoppolo is now 19th on the FCS career passing list with 10,841 career yards. Garoppolo also became the OVC career leader in total offense passing Murray State's Casey Brockman as Garoppolo finished the game with 10,741 career yards. In the game Garoppolo opened 10-for-10 with two touchdown passes and 254 yards passing as EIU jumped out to a 27-6 lead. Garoppolo finished the day with 376 yards passing and three touchdowns. He has 96 career touchdown passes to rank 14th on the FCS career list. Garoppolo passed for over 300 yards in the first half as he has now passed for 200 or more yards in the first half of all seven of EIU's games including three games where he has gone over the 200-yard mark in the first quarter. Garoppolo leads the nation in passing offense, passing touchdowns and total offense. EIU finished the day with 670 yards of total offense, the fifth highest total in school history.

Little helped the Panthers balance out their offensive attack as he rushed for 129 yards on 15 carries for an average of 8.9 yards per carry.  Little scored three touchdowns in the game as the Panthers churned out 283 yards on the ground and 670 yards of total offense, the fifth highest single game total offense total in school history. Little’s three scores came from 16, 8 and 5 yards. Little added one punt return for 17 yards to finish with 146 yards of all-purpose yardage. Little was one of two backs to go over 100-yards in the game joining backfield mate Taylor Duncan (107). Little is 23rd in the nation in all-purpose yards and 54th nationally in rushing.

This marks the fifth time this season that Garoppolo has won OVC Offensive Player of the Week honors. This is Little’s first OVC Newcomer of the Week honor and second OVC weekly honor this year. Little was the OVC Special Teams Player of the Week following the season opening victory at San Diego State.