The Eastern Kentucky University football team fell in their home opener to Indiana State on Saturday, 23-21.

“Disappointed in the outcome but our kids played hard for 60 minutes,” head coach Walt Wells said. “I thought we played physical for 60 minutes, we just didn’t finish the ball game the way we should.”

EKU quarterback Parker McKinney handed the ball off to running back Da’Joun Hewitt for a touchdown with only 49 seconds left in the game, allowing the Colonels to take their first lead of the night, 21-17.

“Based on the way the defense was aligned, we knew I was going to be one-on-one with the safety,” Hewitt said. “ ... He gave me the ball and I just executed the play.”

Next play, the Colonels had a squib kick that bounced off an ISU player and the Sycamores were able to recover the ball and drive to the EKU 24-yard line. After three timeouts, both teams were able to readjust but on the final play, ISU connected on a 24-yard touchdown pass to earn a 23-21 victory with only two seconds left in regulation.

“We've got to play smarter, we’ve got to do a better job of coaching, we’ve got to do a better job of our run game on offense,” Wells said. “ ... our special teams, just one or two plays are killing us, like they have the last two weeks.”

Tight end Malik Owens had the first touchdown of the game for the Colonels.

Defensive back Davion Ross picked off a Sycamore pass right before halftime to return it for a touchdown.

“It felt pretty good, it was my first pick six,” Ross said.

McKinney went 23-for-38 and 205 yards passing and a touchdown.

Tight end Dakota Allen had four catches for a team high of 66-yards.

Linebacker Kyle Bailey led the team with seven tackles.

The Colonels will play Austin Peay at Roy Kidd Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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