The defending OVC champion Eastern Illinois held their spring football game today and it was the defense forcing five turnovers and scoring on two of them that on the show.
“I’m really proud of the guys on defense today,” head coach Dino Babers said following the scrimmage. “They really stepped up. All spring long we have been working on individual improvement and getting better. I thought we had that. We have made progress in becoming a bigger, faster, stronger team and I credit that to the off-season program our strength staff has implemented. This spring was good because the players and coaches had a better understanding of each other. Everybody should understand the structure we have and understand their role so we can take care of business.”
The defense didn’t allow a score until the seventh possession as the Panthers kicked a field goal to get on the board. The two defensive touchdowns came on a fumble recovery by Kamu Grugier-Hill followed up by a Nick Beard 35 yard interception for touchdown.
The offense that went wild on the rest of the OVC did settle in, as starter Jimmy Garoppolo went 25 of 47 for 313 yards with two touchdowns but two interceptions. OVC player of the year Erik Lora had 8 catches for 103 yards.
The Panthers have been trying to add a run game to their offense to let the defense get some rest and the spring game showed that added dimension. Shepard Little carried the ball for 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.