Football finishes regular season with a 38-32 win over EIU
Southeast football, ranked No. 23 in the Football Championship Subdivision, edged Eastern Illinois 38-32 in its final regular season game of the 2018 campaign on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Houck Field.
The Panthers (3-8 overall, 3-5 Ohio Valley Conference) struck first early in the game on a 72-yard touchdown reception by Alex Hollins, but would not score again until late in the third quarter.
Southeast’s (8-3 overall, 6-2 OVC) first score came on a 34-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Kendrick Tiller with 9:43 left in the first quarter, and the Redhawks took a 10-7 lead two minutes later on an 11-yard run by junior running back Marquis Terry. It was the only score for Terry, who later left the game with concussion-like symptoms.
With just five seconds left in the half, Southeast was able to score on a 1-yard rush by sophomore running back Mark Robinson to extend the lead to 17-7 going into the break.
With 9:45 left in the third quarter, Tiller nailed his second field goal from 29 yards to make the score 20-7.
Eastern Illinois then kicked a 35-yard field goal with 4:23 left in the third, and followed that score with a successful onside kick to set up an 8-yard rush by junior quarterback Johnathan Brantley to cut Southeast’s lead to 20-17 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
Junior wideout Kristian Wilkerson responded early in the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown snag to extend the Redhawks’ lead to 27-17 with 13:42 remaining. Minutes later, Tiller connected on his third field goal of the night from 32 yards to make it 30-17.
Eastern Illinois switched to quarterback Harry Woodbery, and he threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Hollins to tighten the gap to 30-24 with 6:52 remaining in the game.
Freshman running back Zion Custis answered back on the ensuing kickoff by taking the ball 97 yards for the score, giving Southeast its final touchdown of the game and extending the lead to 38-24 after a successful two-point conversion.
EIU scored with 34 seconds remaining on an 8-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-senior wide receiver Aaron Gooch to bring the game to its final score of 38-32 after a successful two-point conversion.
Southeast and EIU combined for 33 fourth-quarter points.
Junior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina went 30-of-38 passing for 211 yards and a touchdown, raising his OVC-leading touchdown total to 25.
Kobe Dryer led the Redhawks receivers with nine catches for 59 yards. Custis led the rushing attack with 77 yards on 11 carries, followed by Robinson with 49 yards on 16 attempts.
Junior inside linebacker Zach Hall had 16 tackles in the game and was stopped just short of history. Hall’s 150 tackles during the regular season are one less than the school record of 151. Demarcus Rogers and Justin Swift followed with 10 tackles apiece in the game, and each forced a fumble.
Southeast picked up two interceptions in the game, increasing its nation-leading turnover margin to plus-23.
The Panthers outgained the Redhawks in total yards 494-371. Isaiah Johnson rushed for 105 yards and Brantley threw for 179 yards and a touchdown to lead EIU.
This season marked the Redhawks’ first winning season in eight years and its fourth since becoming a Division I program.
The Redhawks fate moving forward will be decided at the FCS Playoff Selection Show on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU.