The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) football team fell at home to Gardner-Webb University (GWU) on Nov. 26, 41-52. This loss is the eighth consecutive playoff loss for the Colonels.
The first quarter of play was all back and forth, with GWU scoring first and EKU responding to every touchdown. GWU scored as the first quarter clock hit zero, taking them up, 21-14.
EKU started the second quarter with possession and opted for a Nations 22-yard field goal, staying behind the Bulldogs, 17-21.
GWU also opted for a field goal during their next possession, extending their lead 24-17. After a touchdown from each team, EKU finished the half with a 43-yard Nations field goal to close the gap, 27-31.
The third quarter was all Bulldogs as GWU scored three unanswered touchdowns before heading into the final 15 minutes, 52-27.
The fourth quarter was run by the Colonels, but they could not recover from the deficit, and after two touchdowns and one completed two-point conversion, EKU lost 41-52.
EKU quarterback Parker McKinney had his best throwing night of the season, recording 454 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
McKinney recorded 37 completed passes on 57 attempts.
EKU’s rushing offense was heavily lacking, accumulating only 44 yards on 22 carries, with McKinney recording minus 18 yards on seven carries.
However, the EKU receivers made up for the lack of rushing yards with Cornelius McCoy recording six catches for 155 yards and one touchdown, Jaden Smith with nine carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns, Joseph Sewell with six catches for 64 yards and Jayden Higgins with nine catches for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
EKU running back Braedon Sloan picked up four kick returns for 173 yards.
Nations was 2-2 on field goals and 3-3 on extra points, recording a 43-yard field goal on the night.
GWU recorded 405 yards of rushing offense, 118 yards of passing offense with six rushing touchdowns and one passing.
EKU ended their season with a 7-5 overall record (3-2 ASUN), a conference championship and their first playoff appearance since 2014.