Colonels look to finish with a win for the seniors

Sophomore wide receiver Jaelin Carter from Louisville jumps up against a Jacksonville State defender to grab a pass during the Colonels’ home football game on Oct. 6. (Zachery Combest/ Progress) 

After comeback victory last weekend, the Colonels are preparing for this Saturday’s senior day.

The Colonels welcome the two-win Robert Morris Colonials football team to Roy Kidd Stadium. Robert Morris is currently on a two-game losing streak while EKU is on a two-game winning streak after defeating Eastern Illinois on Oct. 27 and Austin Peay last weekend.

In that win last weekend, true freshman Parker McKinney led the Colonels in the comeback as he threw a completion to a diving redshirt senior Dan Paul in the endzone.

Paul and head coach Mark Elder gave McKinney high praise for his composure when he entered the game after Alphonso Howard went down with an apparent leg injury in the third quarter.

“It was big. A lot of the players like the O line men and some of the older players were talking about how he came in the huddle and made sure that everyone knew it was his huddle,” Paul said. “So that was also reassuring he didn’t come in the huddle shaky; he came in and knew exactly what he wanted to do ... he came in like a fifth-year senior,” Paul said.

McKinney finished the game completing 7 of 8 pass attempts and threw for 89 yards in his first appearance.

Elder mentioned during his weekly press conference how McKinney hadn’t taken a college snap until being called up to take over in the Austin Peay game.

“We’re really proud of him and the whole offense’s effort and belief by the team to pull out a victory in a tough circumstance in a hard fought game,” Elder said.

The win on Saturday marked the six hundredth victory in the history of Colonel football. Eastern Kentucky now has a record of 600- 386-38 in 105 seasons of football. No other Ohio Valley Conference school except for Tennessee State has more than 563 football victories. EKU also became the 20 FCS program to win 600 or more games.

EKU’s Leodis Moore III was cho- sen as the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting two passes in the game on Saturday.

Looking at this weekend’s game against Robert Morris, the Colonels look to continue being tenacious on defense.

“We got a lot of ballhawks in the defensive back field and our defensive line applies a lot of pressure to the quarterback, which helps us so we just make plays come to us,” said junior defensive back TJ Comstock during the weekly press conference.

The EKU defense has picked off the opposing quarterbacks 16 times this season and Robert Morris has thrown 12 interceptions so far this season.

Eastern’s defense leads the nation with those 16 interceptions. Moore leads the OVC and is seventh in the country with 0.6 interceptions per game this season.

The Colonels are favored in this series. EKU is 2-0 all time against Robert Morris. They first met in 2013 when the Colonials made a trip to Richmond. EKU won that game in a rout, 38-6.

In 2014, Eastern picked up another win by a score of 29-10 at Robert Morris.

Robert Morris enters the game with a 2-7 record, but Elder isn’t overlooking the Colonials.

“We are playing a team that is playing its best football right now ... In the last couple weeks we’ve seen them play better than they did earlier in the season,” Elder said.

Robert Morris lost at Sacred Heart 38-7 last Saturday.

RMU allowed 347 rushing yards to Sacred Heart last week. The Colonials have allowed an average of 274 rushing yards per game this season.

EKU will look to exploit the Colonial defense as their game plan is to run the ball constantly. EKU averages 225 rushing yards this season.

This Saturday is also senior day. EKU has two seniors on the team and 10 redshirt seniors. Paul is one of the redshirt seniors that will be playing his last game at Roy Kidd Stadium.

“The feeling is definitely bit- tersweet going into this last home game at Roy Kidd,” Paul said.

EKU is currently third in the OVC standings behind Jackson- ville State and Southeast Missouri (SEMO). Both of those teams have one loss and SEMO’s only loss was to EKU back on Sep. 22.

With a win this Saturday against Robert Morris and a win on Nov. 17 against Tennessee Tech, the Colonels would have a winning season for the first time since 2014, when they went 9-4.

“We got an opportunity to secure a winning season at home for our seniors and I’m certain that is going to be a big motivation for our team. We want to send these seniors out the right way,” Elder said.

As of now, Elder and the football team are focusing on one game at a time, and hoping to put in a strong week of preparation this week to prepare for the visiting Colonials this Saturday.

Sports Editor

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