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Watch now: Eastern Illinois football wraps up season with second game against Murray State

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CHARLESTON — Eastern Illinois football hosts Murray State for the Panthers' final game of the 2021 season. EIU will honor its 14 seniors/graduate student players prior to the game with the Racers.

EIU football

Murray State and Eastern Illinois meet for the second time this season and the 38th time overall on Saturday.

The Panthers (1-9 overall, 1-4 in the OVC) are coming off a bye week following a 42-26 loss at Austin Peay on Nov. 6 in the final road game of the year. Murray State (5-5, 2-3) has won two straight and is looking to lock up a second straight winning season.

The Racers have won back-to-back OVC games the last two weeks after starting the year 0-3 despite being the OVC preseason favorites. Eric Samuta leads the Murray State defense with 69 tackles while Marcis Floyd has been a playmaker with 3 sacks and two interceptions. The offense rides on the running of back Damonta Witherspoon with 775 yards and seven touchdowns. DJ Williams has taken over at quarterback, passing for 961 yards and three scores.

EIU receiver Isaiah Hill turned in his second straight standout performance at Austin Peay, catching 10 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Hill had caught 11 passes for 207 yards in the previous game at Southeast Missouri. In just four games played this season after returning from injury, Hill is already the Panthers leading receiver with 26 receptions and 383 yards.

EIU quarterback Zach Weir made his first collegiate start two weeks ago against Austin Peay, going 26-of-50 for 296 yards and a touchdown. Weir's touchdown came late in the game and was 15 yards to Hill. The 296 yards are the most by an EIU quarterback in their first career start since Harry Woodbery passed for 339 yards against Tennessee Tech in 2018.

EIU linebacker Jason Johnson tallied six tackles and forced and recovered a fumble against the Govs. He now leads the OVC and ranks 18th nationally in tackles (9.8/game). Jason Johnson became the 39th player in school history to reach the 100 tackle mark for a season.

Here's a look at the game:

Time: Saturday at noon

Location: O'Brien Field in Charleston

Radio: 88.9 WEIU-FM


Series: Eastern Illinois leads the all-time series 19-18.

Last Meeting: Oct. 2, 2021: Murray State won 22-6. 

Notes: Murray State has won four in a row and five of the last six meetings, including a 22-6 victory back in October. In that contest the Racers built a 19-0 lead entering the fourth quarter on their way to the win. MSU running back Damonta Witherspoon finished the game with 141 yards on 27 carries (5.2 ypc). EIU's Aaron Foulkes had six catches for 123 yards and the lone Panther touchdown of the game. ... Murray State held Southeast Missouri State University to 0-for-13 on third down, marking the first time since the 2013 season the team had accomplished that feat.

Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten


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