EIU returned to conference play last week with an away loss at Tennessee State. The Panthers have dropped two straight and are now 2-5, 1-1 in the OVC. Tennessee Tech (1-6) is 0-3 in the OVC and dropped its fifth straight game with an overtime loss to Kennesaw State last weekend.
Eastern Illinois football and Tennessee Tech look to end their losing streak Saturday in an Ohio Valley Conference clash in Charleston.
“Last week was certainly not the result we wanted. After watching the tape for the second and third time, the first quarter started out very slow offensively, but our defense held up. After the first quarter, it was 3-0, as bad as we had been playing offensively,” said EIU head coach Chris Wilkerson. “The second quarter was the turning point in this game. We kept having three-and-outs and a turnover on a short field on offense, and the defense was on the field 45 times in the first half. It wasn’t complementary football.”
“We’ve seen great approaches from MJ and he’s getting better and better. He’s really not a freshman now and has grasped the offense. We know we have three games left and can still use the redshirt,” Wilkerson said. “If you control the development of the players, we’re at a point where if they haven’t played yet, they have the last four games to make as many plays as they can and not use up a redshirt.”
Panthers freshman MJ Flowers was the leading rusher last week with 36 yards on six runs. With four games left on the schedule, Wilkerson can use more freshmen without them losing their redshirt status.
Eastern Illinois earned its only win of the season last year against Tennessee Tech. A win this season would give the Panthers their second OVC victory of the year – EIU’s most since the 2018 season.
“Tennessee Tech is a much improved football team. They don’t have any wins to show for it yet, but they are much better than last year when you look at the tape,” Wilkerson said. “This team will be defined by our place in the OVC at the end of the season. We are 1-1 and have a chance to play at home on Family Weekend. We want to show that we are better than we played on Saturday.”