Eastern Kentucky’s defense turned in a dominating performance to lead the Colonels to a 24-10 Homecoming victory over Tennessee Tech at Roy Kidd Stadium.
The Eagles (3-5, 0-3 OVC) were held to 200 total yards and only 27 rushing yards by an attacking Eastern Kentucky defense.
The Colonels (4-3, 2-1 OVC) scored on their opening possession and never trailed in this one. EKU covered 64 yards in 10 plays and took 4:44 seconds off the clock to get out to the 7-0 lead on Jared McClain’s 10 yard touchdown run. That was all the scoring in the first quarter as the teams traded punts the rest of the quarter.
The Eagles got on the board in the second quarter. Jay Rudwall recovered a fumble by Colonel running back Caleb Watkins on the first play of the second quarter at the EKU 44 yard line. A targeting penalty on EKU defensive back Brandon Stanley moved the ball down to the Colonels 31 yard line. The Eagles picked up two more first downs before the drive stalled. Zach Sharpe then converted a 29 yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.
After an exchange of punts the Colonels were able to punch it in again and stretch the lead out to 14-3. McClain again did the honors, this time from 8 yards out after a beautiful fake to J.J. Jude. The Colonels got the ball right back when senior linebacker Anthony Brown picked off a Jared Davis pass at the Eagles 31 yard line with 1:44 to go before halftime. McClain then completed a 15 yard pass to Devin Borders to move the Colonels into the red zone. However, 3 straight runs only netted 8 yards and EKU was forced to settle for a 26 yard field goal from Andrew Lloyd.
For the half the Colonels held the Eagles to -14 yards rushing on 8 carries while rushing for 100 yards on 26 carries. This led to an 18:24 to 11:36 time of possession edge for EKU.
After a scoreless 3rd quarter the Colonels would score on their first possession of the 4th quarter to run their lead out to 24-3 and put the game out of reach. The key play in the drive was a 33 yard completion from McClain to Borders on 3rd and 17. The drive was capped by a little bit of razzle dazzle from EKU. On 1st and 10 from the Eagles 29 yard line Colonels wideout Jeff Borders got the ball on reverse. Borders then threw the ball to senior Ike Ariguzo who had snuck behind the defense. Ariguzo went up high to make a great catch over a TTU defender in the end zone. Luke Pray’s extra point gave the Colonels the 24-3 lead and closed out the scoring for EKU.
The Eagles did not give up. Instead they put together their best drive of the game as they marched 62 yards in 10 plays. Davis found Krys Cates across the middle for a 16 yard touchdown to cut the Colonels lead to 24-10 with 9:30 to go in the game. The Eagles forced a 3 and out and had a chance to make the game interesting. They were able to move the ball into EKU territory but Bryce Krebs and Anthony Brown stuffed Eagles running back Cody Forbes for a 1 yard loss on 4th and 1 to effectively end the game.
The Colonels did not have a great offensive game as they only produced 347 yards, 149 rushing and 198 passing. The 149 yards rushing came on 50 carries and helped produce a 34:28-25:32 time of possession advantage for EKU. The offense did not have to be explosive with the defense shutting down the Eagles. Six different Colonels recorded a tackle for loss paced by Anthony Brown. Brown recorded 5 tackles, an interception, a sack, a pass breakup and 2 quarterback hurries. The EKU defense limited TTU to 200 total yards (62 of it came on one drive) on 64 plays for an average of only 3.1 yards per play.
The Colonels travel to Southeast Missouri next week while Tennessee Tech returns home to take on Jacksonville State.