EKU Colonels fall to Murray State on homecoming

RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University football team grabbed an early lead, but 17-unanswered points propelled Murray State University to a 34-6 victory on Homecoming Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium.

With the Colonels marching down the field on their opening drive, Daryl McCleskey Jr. broke off a 16-yard run to get Eastern into the redzone. Unable to capitalize on the field position, EKU settled for a field goal to take an early 3-0 advantage.

Eastern’s defense held Murray State at bay in the first quarter, not allowing a single first down and only 26 yards of total offense.

The Colonels used 11 plays to drive 62 yards with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. The drive came to a halt when Dakota Allen was intercepted by Quincy Williams, who took the ball 85 yards down the field to EKU’s one-yard line. Rodney Castille found the endzone to give the Racers a 7-3 lead with 4:34 left in the first half.

Murray State got the ball back late in the second quarter after Eastern turned the ball over on downs. The Racers settled for a field goal to end the half, taking a 10-3 lead into the locker room.

Drew Anderson got the Racers off to a hot start on their second possession of the third quarter when he found DeQuan Dallas wide open for 40 yards. Five plays later, Anderson connected with James Sappington for a 28-yard touchdown to put Murray State up 17-3 with 10:47 remaining in the third quarter.

With 8:47 left in the third, LJ Scott found a hole and went 37 yards to the Murray State 45-yard line. Jason Lewis came in on the next play and rushed for 23 yards to put the Colonels just outside of the redzone. Eastern continued to inch towards the endzone, but Murray State forced the Colonels to settle for a field goal after sacking Allen on third and goal. Samuel Hayworth’s 30-yarder made it 17-6 with 4:01 on the clock.

The Racers responded on their next possession with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 32-yard run for a touchdown by Jared McCray.

Murray State (4-3, 4-0 OVC) opened up the fourth quarter with a drive ending with a two-yard touchdown pass to Tyre Gray to take a 31-6 lead with 13:53 remaining. The Racers tacked on three more points courtesy of a 36-yard field goal with 9:15 left to play.

Eastern Kentucky (3-4, 2-2 OVC) was led by Scott’s 94 rushing yards, including two fourth down conversions in the first half. Austin Scott completed 12 of his 21 passes for 102 yards. Eastern outgained Murray State 385-329 in total offense, and 185-121 in total rushing yards.

Anderson led the Racers on 20-of-30 passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Castille and McCray both contributed rushing touchdowns, along with Sappington’s 28-yard touchdown reception.

EKU will host Eastern Illinois next Saturday. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.