» By MARLON SCOTT – mscott@my.apsu.edu

For the first 15 minutes, everything went the Govs way.

They won the coin toss. They marched down the field and scored on their first two offensive possessions. They dominated the time of possession, controlling the ball for 12:41 of the first 15 minutes and did not commit any turnovers.

However, the game continued after the first 15 minutes and instead of a happy homecoming, the EIU Panthers’ dealt the Govs their fourth loss in a row, 19-10.

The loss drops the Govs (2-6, 2-4 OVC) to seventh in the OVC. It was the Panthers (2-7, 1-6 OVC) first conference win of the season.

Freshman quarterback Landon Curtis got his first start of the season in front of more than 5,000 people. He didn’t turn the ball over, but did not throw any touchdowns either. Curtis completed 14-of-30 passes for 111 yards.

“I thought I played pretty good, took what the defense gave me,” Curtis said. “Other than that we just didn’t make the big plays when we needed to.”

Curtis was assisted by a solid running game. The Govs’ out-rushed the Panthers 215 to 181 yards. Senior running back Ryan White led the way with 23 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Wesley Kitts added 86 yards on 11 carries.

White’s touchdown was the Govs’ only touchdown of the game. The 8-yard power run to the end zone came at the end of the Govs’ first offensive-drive. The Govs’ only other score was a 21-yard field goal kicked by kicker Stephen Stansell.

“Landon Curtis played a good football game. He had four or five drops. If those are caught, he has a couple of TDs and goes around 18-of-30 with no fumbles or interceptions,” head coach Rick Christophel said. “Ryan White and Wes Kitts rushed the ball well. This game came down to field position. With a freshman quarterback throwing the ball 30 times, we ran into trouble. He had a good football game, but we didn’t help him out enough.”

The Panthers’ produced only nine yards of offense in the first quarter, but they pounced in the second.

Panther’s sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo launched a 52-yard bomb to junior receiver Chris Wright for their first score at 11:11 in the
second quarter.

Garoppolo threw another 34-yard missile to freshman tight end Sam Hendricks that set up a two-yard touchdown run by running back Jake Walker.

“We’ve got to start getting the wins,” Curtis said. “When we keep it close like that, we’ve got to get wins because it’s heartbreaking to go out there and work so hard every week, then come out here and lose like this, especially during a homecoming game.”

The Govs’ next opportunity to win will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in their last home game against Central State. TAS