By Chris McGee
The Colonels football team recorded its first road win against a non-FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) opponent since 2002 Saturday with a solid victory over Coastal Carolina, 35-17. The win snapped a streak of eight straight losses.
Three players had individual milestones in this game. Sophomore quarterback Jared McClain recorded his first collegiate touchdown pass with a 32-yard strike to senior running back Matt Denham in the first quarter. Defensive back Brooklyn Fox got his third pick of the season and sixth of his career. Also, senior wide receiver Tyrone Goard passed 1,000 career receiving yards with a 77-yard touchdown catch from senior quarterback T.J. Pryor in the second quarter. The pass was also Goard’s longest career reception.
The two senior quarterbacks once again shared the offensive duties. Coach Hood said this had been the plan beginning with the Purdue game.
“There were times in this game when we would take McClain out and Pryor would do well for a while,” Hood said. “But then there were other times when McClain would do well and we would want to go back to Pryor.”
Hood also said both players know how to run the offense well. In addition, he said Pryor will probably play the whole game Saturday against Jacksonville State.
“Healthwise, T.J. looked the best I’ve seen him look for a Monday practice,” Hood said.
Bell reiterated that each quarterback brings something different to the table.
“McClain is the tougher of the two.” Bell said. “He will step out of the pocket if he needs to.”
“Pryor, on the other hand, likes to stay in the pocket,” he added. “But also, with his recent hamstring injury, he has been limited a little bit with coming out of the pocket.”
Bell also said he does not let the fact that Eastern is picked to finish near the top of the conference each year cause him to lose focus.
“Some players might think to themselves ‘I can’t wait to win a ring,’ but you still have to go out and put in the hard work,” Bell said.
Both teams will be going into Saturday’s game with wins. Eastern, fresh off of its victory over the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina and Jacksonville comes to Richmond after a victory over Chattanooga, 27-24.
Some might be inclined to call last year’s game a nail-biter. Eastern was trailing by 24 points with 7:35 left in the game. But somehow the team reached down and scored 28 unanswered to win 52-48. The game ended with a goal-line stand by the Colonel’s defense at the one-yard line which prevented the Gamecocks from getting a touchdown and winning the game.
But Hood was quick to point out the team doesn’t need to watch the tape from that game for the wrong reasons.
“The only reason we should be watching tape of that game is schematically, to find things we did wrong and improve on them,” he said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.