EKU on offense looking to score from five yards out against Morehead St. in the first game of the season. (Zachery Combest/ Progress) 

The Colonels are preparing for their second Ohio Valley Conference game this season as they welcome defending OVC champs, Jacksonville State to Roy Kidd Stadium.

Coming off of a bye week has helped the Colonels to prepare for Jacksonville State. Head coach Mark Elder emphasized how important it was for the team to have time to recover.

“Our big focus during the bye week was really on us.... Our injury report went from a page and a half to half a page, which was great,” Elder said during the weekly press conference on Monday.

The Colonels are coming into this Saturday’s game leading the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing offense with 297 yards per game. On the other side of the football, Jacksonville State is the leader in the OVC rush defense category. Jacksonville State has only allowed 78.5 yards per game.

Jacksonville State is currently ranked eighth in the country and hold a record of 3-1 on the season. The Gamecocks have won 34 straight OVC games. No one on the EKU football roster has defeated the Gamecocks.

“It’s a big game, it’s an OVC game. It’s an opportunity for us to continue to control our destiny,” Elder said.

The running attack has been EKU’s game plan for the season so far, but Elder is also looking to improve on the passing game. During the press conference on Monday, he talked about becoming more balanced on offense. He believes that they have the pieces on offense to be a balanced team.   

It’s been five years since the Colonels have defeated the Gamecocks, though Elder isn't concerned about previous games against Jacksonville State.

“What's happened in the past doesn't have any bearing on what happens this year,” Elder said.

Jacksonville State leads the series 9-6 and EKU is 3-4 against the Gamecocks in Richmond. Last season Jacksonville State won 41-25.

Kickoff against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Follow @EPSports on Twitter for updates during the game.

Sports Editor

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