The Eastern Kentucky University football team fell to Stephen F. Austin, 31-17 on Saturday at Homer Bryce Stadium. This is the first ASUN-WAC Challenge loss of the season for the Colonels.
“Not happy with our performance this past weekend...we knew they had a good football team when we went down there and we feel like we do too,” head coach Walt Wells said. “It’s just a situation where we got down there and we didn’t execute to the highest of our abilities.”
The Lumberjacks came out strong in the first and second quarter, putting up a quick 14-0 lead against the Colonels.
In the second quarter, Patrick Nations kicked a 27-yard field goal to put the Colonels on the board. Within minutes quarterback Parker McKinney made a connection with wide receiver Matt Wilcox Jr. for a 7-yard touchdown.
“We have to play disciplined football and that’s what is most important when you’re playing those guys,” Wells said. “I felt like at times we contained them really well and we won the third down battle.”
With only 30 seconds left in the first half, Stephen F. Austin put up a 22-yard field goal.
The Lumberjacks were able to sneak in the only touchdown in the third quarter and extend their lead on the Colonels, 24-10.
“I was proud of how we came back from 14 down and got to 10,” Wells said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump and that's on us. I’ve got to do a little better job of preparing the team and coaching the team.”
The Colonels fought back in the fourth quarter and a handoff from McKinney to running back Braedon Sloan, closed the gap to seven.
Stephen F. Austin answered with a 2-yard run into the endzone and handed the Colonels their first conference loss, 31-17.
“We were playing really well in that game but our mistakes took it away from us,” Wells said. “You take the momentum away and you give it to the other team and it's hard to overcome and especially on the road.”
On offense, McKinney was 30-of-50 for 273 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He led the Colonels with 100 yards rushing. Wide receiver Jyran Mitchell had a team high eight passes for 69 yards.
Over on defense, Jaden Woods caught an interception. Linebacker Matthew Jackson tacked on nine stops, while Kyle Bailey led with 12 tackles.
“We are looking forward to the challenge this week and going back to Texas and playing the No. 1 team in the nation,” Wells said.
The Colonels will head back to Texas next Saturday to take on No. 1 Sam Houston at 1 p.m.