Redshirt freshman Thomas Owens (3) had a net total of 117-yards rushing against Murray. JOHNNA MCKEE/PROGRESS

Redshirt freshman Thomas Owens (3) had a net total of 117-yards rushing against Murray. JOHNNA MCKEE/PROGRESS


By TYLER PHILLIPS

tyler_phillips33@mymail.eku.edu

Eastern’s football team finished a disappointing 2013 season with its third straight loss, falling 34-27 in overtime at Murray State last Saturday. Eastern hadn’t lost to the Racers since 2004.

The Colonels started redshirt freshman Kyle Romano at quarterback. This was Romano’s first start of the season, but he left the game in the first quarter because of an injury.

Junior Jared McClain came in for the Colonels after the Romano injury. McClain, who started every other game this season, led the Colonel offense to over 400 yards of total offense.  However, the offense just couldn’t score when they needed to.

Head Coach Dean Hood said after the game in a radio interview that the team had several chances to score deep in Racer territory but never got the points.

Hood said the offense didn’t get it done in short-yardage situations. He said that because the Colonels pride themselves on being a running team, short-yardage running situations should come with ease but that didn’t happen against Murray State.

One of those situations was in overtime. After Murray State scored off of a reverse pass on a third and long, the Eastern offense took over and was presented with a first and goal from inside the five-yard line. Murray’s defense stopped a usually powerful Eastern run game four times and won the game. McClain’s fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak was stopped on the one-yard line, ending the season for the Colonels.

Hood said the Colonels just had to be able to run the football. He said that the play call was quarterback power, a play that they usually run with senior Ben De La Cruz and they just didn’t get in.

Junior quarterback Jared McClain took over after freshman Kyle Romano was injured in the first half. The loss ended the season for Eastern. JOHNNA MCKEE/PROGRESS

Junior quarterback Jared McClain took over after freshman Kyle Romano was injured in the first half. The loss ended the season for Eastern. JOHNNA MCKEE/PROGRESS

The Colonels’ struggle to convert from four yards in overtime comes as a surprise. Eastern rushed the ball 79 times for 311 yards throughout the game. Several players had successful rushing days for Eastern. Two of the Colonels running backs, redshirt freshman Jared Sanders had 23 carries for 80 yards and redshirt freshman Thomas Owens rushed 20 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those were highs for the Colonels.

McClain added 66 yards to the total, including a 39-yard run to the Murray State 12-yard line that set up the game-tying score.

The Colonels end the year 6-6 (4-4 OVC), the second time in the last 36 years Eastern did not have a winning record. Both years had Hood as the head coach.

Eastern was ranked No. 19 in the FCS at the beginning of the season and one of the OVC favorites. Eastern finished tied for 5th in the OVC with Murray State after the loss.

Hood said the responsibility for the disappointing season lies with him, and added that he is proud of the seniors. Hood said he told the seniors that there’s a reason a sign on their weight room door says Colonels for life.  He said he would always communicate with his players as they go out in life.

Hood said he saw no quit in either team, even after both had no shot at the playoffs before the game.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Devin Borders was named OVC Freshman of the Year after his 34 catch, 509-yard season.  Borders also caught six touchdowns and blocked five kicks, which was the most by any FCS player this season. Borders joins former Eastern quarterback T.J. Pryor as the only two Eastern players to win the award.

2 Comments

  1. I agree with you. The playoff game still sticks in my mind. Hood is a nice guy; maybe too nice to lead a college football team.

  2. David Gorman says:

    It is time to move on from Coach Hood. While he has given us some brief glimpses of success, he has failed too many times.
    He has led EKU to two non-winning seasons, after EKU was competing for the record of most consecutive winning seasons. A record which BleacherReport says will never be broken (FSU has that record).
    Hood is not the man for the job. He has cost the Colonels multiple games with bad game time decisions.
    Three decisions stand out the most.
    When we played IU and were competing for the upset, Hood “forgot” that he had a time out as time was winding down. We lost the game.
    When we played Jacksonville State, we were driving down the field with time winding down. We were on the verge of a comeback win. There was still a good amount of time on the clock, however, Hood had the QB spike the ball on 3rd down. The Colonels could not convert on 4th down, we turned it over, and EKU lost.
    During the playoff game, the opponent was going to kick a field goal. Hood called a timeout for some reason. The other team took this timeout as an opportunity, constructed a new play, and scored a touchdown to win the game. Colonels lose at home in a playoff game that EKU should have won.
    There are plenty more blunders caused by Hood, but these are three that stand out in recent memory.
    I am sick of Hood costing EKU wins. I am sick of mediocre seasons. Get Hood out of Richmond and bring in someone who will bring back Colonel Pride and take EKU to the national championship once again.
    HOOD NO GOOD!!!!!!!!!

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