Eastern Illinois 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Eastern Illinois Panthers
Ohio Valley


Eastern Illinois got off to a great start with a 40-19 win over San Diego State. They have not slowed down since. The only loss the Panthers suffered all season long was against Northern Illinois and that was a close game that came down to the wire. The potent EIU offense should lead to some success in the playoffs, but this is a program that has had very little postseason success. Eastern Illinois has lost their playoff opener ten times in a row and have not won a playoff game since 1989.  

2013 Record: 11-1, 8-0
Coach: Dino Babers

Big Wins: 8/31 at San Diego State (40-19), 10/26 at Tennessee State (34-16)
Bad Losses: 9/21 at Northern Illinois (39-43)

The offense begins with Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora, but it does go much deeper than that. Garoppolo, a senior signal caller, has had another amazing season. During the regular season he has thrown for 4,489 yards and 48 touchdowns. Garoppolo is a smart quarterback who rarely makes bad decisions. It helps having Lora at his disposal. The 5-11 senior receiver caught an impressive 102 passes for 1,339 yards and 17 touchdowns. You will hear Garoppolo to Lora plenty of times throughout the playoffs, but this team is not entirely about that dynamic duo. Receivers Adam Drake, who caught 75 passes for 1,145 yards and 12 scores, and Keiondre Gober, who added 44 catches for 838 yards and nine touchdowns, help keep the pressure off of Lora. EIU will look to the air first, but Shepard Little and Taylor Duncan have had great years and the rushing offense is actually ranked 22nd in the FCS. Little is a speedy back who rushed for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns. Duncan is more of a short yardage back, but still managed to rush for 809 yards and nine scores.

It is not fair to call the Eastern Illinois defense a weakness. The unit has done a very good job against the potent passing offenses of the Ohio Valley Conference. The defense will create quite a few turnovers in both the fumble and interception departments. With an offense that rarely turns the ball over, the EIU defense will give the ball back to Garoppolo and company about one extra time per game. Garoppolo usually takes advantage. Jourdan Wickliffe, Pete Houlihan D.J. Bland and Alex McNulty form a quality secondary that has stepped up this season. Their biggest tests may come in the playoffs though.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Shepard Little, RB, 1,306 yards
Passing: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 4,489 yards
Receiving: Erik Lora, WR, 1,339 yards
Tackles: Jourdan Wickliffe, S, 83
Sacks: Pat Wertz, DE, 6.5
Interceptions: Alex McNulty, S, 3; Jourdan Wickliffe, S, 3

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 212.2 (22nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 377.4 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 589.5 (1, 1)
Scoring Offense: 46.8 (1, 1)
Rushing Defense: 165.2 (59, 4)
Pass Defense: 204.7 (40, 5)
Total Defense: 369.9 (47, 4)
Scoring Defense: 21.6 (19, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.80 (11, 1)
Sacks: 3.91 (5, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.36 (30, 1)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2012    First Round    Lost to South Dakota State
2009    First Round     Lost to Southern Illinois
2007    First Round     Lost to Southern Illinois
2006    First Round     Lost to Illinois State
2005    First Round     Lost to Southern Illinois
2002    First Round     Lost to Western Illinois
2001    First Round     Lost to Northern Iowa
2000    First Round    Lost to Montana
1996    First Round    Lost to Northern Iowa
1995    First Round    Lost to Stephen F. Austin
1989    First Round    Defeated Idaho
1989    Quarterfinals    Lost to Montana
1986    First Round    Defeated Murray State
1986    Quarterfinals    Lost to Eastern Kentucky
1983    First Round    Lost to Indiana State
1982    First Round    Defeated Jackson State
1982    Quarterfinals    Lost to Tennessee State

*all team stats through 11/16


Playoff Central