Published on September 9 2013 9:50 am
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Cameron Berra knocked home a 36-yard field goal in the second overtime as No. 14 Eastern Illinois gutted out a 40-37 road win at Southern Illinois. It was the first 2-0 start on the road for EIU in program history. SIU fell to 0-2.
“I thought everybody played well tonight,” said Babers following the win. “We had some breakdowns on special teams but came through in the end to win this in-state rivalry game.”
SIU missed a field goal on the first drive of the game. EIU took advantage jumping out to a 14-3 lead as Jimmy Garoppolo connected with Erik Lora for a 7-yard touchdown and Adam Drake for a 3-yard touchdown, Drake’s score coming with 1:09 left in the first quarter.
Lora and Drake were Garoppolo’s favorite targets on the day as the senior quarterback was 34-of-56 for 440 yards and four touchdowns. He moved into second on the OVC career touchdown passes list with 72 for his career. Garoppolo ‘s passing day ranks fifth on the EIU single game list while his total offense of 442 yards as the fourth best individual game performance for EIU. EIU is now 1-3 in double overtime games.
Lora had 11 catches for 136 yards while Drake caught seven balls for 103 yards and two scores. Drake’s second touchdown came with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter on a 31-yard pass from Garoppolo as Drake caught the ball falling backwards into the end zone. That touchdown put EIU up 30-23 as Berra’s extra point attempt missed.
SIU tied the game with 2:19 left as John Lantz caught a 17-yard pass from Kory Faulkner and Thomas Kinney made the extra point. Faulkner was 28-of-50 for 294 yards and four touchdown passes. Kinney provided part of SIU’s offense making field goals from 22, 22 and 24 yards. He did miss on three attempts including a 37-yard attempt on SIU’s second overtime possession.
The overtime was set up as EIU drove to the two-yard line with two seconds remaining. Berra’s chip shot field goal was blocked up the middle by Tyler Williamson. Berra did redeem himself making the 36-yarder in the second overtime. It was the second time in Berra’s career he has won a game in overtime on a field goal, the last was 2010 as a freshman at Tennessee State.
EIU scored on the first overtime possession on a two-yard Taylor Duncan run. Duncan rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries as EIU had 182 on the ground. SIU scored on its first overtime drive as Faulkner hit MyCole Pruitt on a two-yard pass. Pruitt had two touchdown receptions to go along with eight total receptions for 98 yards.
Robert Haynes led the defense with 15 tackles including three tackles for loss. EIU’s defense did not force a turnover this week but did have 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and 10 pass break-ups. Dino Fanti had 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. SIU’s defense was led by Bryan Presume with15 tackles.
The Panthers open their 2013 home schedule next Saturday night at 6 p.m. hosting Illinois State in the 102nd playing of the Mid-America Classic. Season and single game tickets are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com