CHARLESTON (WCIA) — After two seasons of cancelations, Eastern Illinois football was back out on the field for its Spring Game on Saturday. It was an important one too, the first one under new head coach Chris Wilkerson.

“It was an exciting environment to have so many alums back and have some of our signees here on campus,” says Wilkerson. “Certainly pleased with the direction we are going and really pleased with the effort today.”

EIU did not have Spring practice in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, which also postponed its 2020 season to the Spring of 2021.

“Any time the weather is like this, and we get to play in front of some people that did the tradition and live where we live, to play in front of them it’s good,” says running back Jaelin Benefield.

The Panthers open up their 2022 schedule on Sept. 3 at Northern Illinois.