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The No. 13 Colonels (5-2, 4-0 OVC) dominated the offensive side of the ball from start to finish, scoring on six of their first eight drives. Junior quarterback Bennie Coney had three total touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground. The Colonels racked up 549 yards of total offense, compared to just 351 by Tennessee State.
On EKU’s opening drive, Coney found senior tight end Ben Madon along the left sideline for an impressive 22-yard completion, setting up excellent field position. On the very next play, junior wideout Devin Borders caught a 12-yard pass to make it 1st-and-10 from the 16. A few plays later on 3rd-and-7, Coney scrambled to find junior receiver Bryan Green wide open in the end zone. That touchdown drive took just 2:02 off the clock while covering 50 yards.
Coney threw an interception on the Colonels’ next drive, but EKU got the ball back after stopping TSU on 4th-and-1 from the EKU 49. Eastern used the short field position to add on more points. Sophomore kicker Lucas Williams converted a 30-yard field goal to make the score 10-0.
The following drive, the Tigers marched down the field with ease to make it 1st-and-goal from the nine-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, Kiante Northington made the biggest defensive stop of the game by picking off Ronald Butler’s touchdown attempt.
On the next Colonels’ defensive series, junior Noah Spence recorded a sack on 3rd-and-9, setting up Eastern with the ball on its own 20. The next play offensive play, freshman tailback Ethan Thomas found a hole up the middle to break loose for an 80-yard touchdown run to make the score 17-0 going into the half.
The Colonels did not miss a beat coming out of halftime. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Coney connected with Green from the EKU 35 for a 45-yard pass on 3rd-and-4. A Joel Brown reception a couple plays later made it 1st-and-goal. This led to a Green touchdown catch to give the Colonels a 24-0 lead.
The Colonels found the end zone three more times: A 12-yard rush by Coney, a four yard pass by Coney to Borders, and an 11-yard rush by senior Jared Sanders late in the fourth quarter.
A Trey Thomas interception with 1:09 in the fourth quarter ended the homecoming victory in style.
Coney finished 27-of-41 for 292 yards. Green led the Colonels in receiving with nine catches for 122 yards. Eastern was led in rushing by Thomas, who had 18 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown.
The Colonels dominated the running game, outrushing Tennessee State 148-21 in the first half, and 256-129 overall.
The defensive combo of Thomas and sophomore Kobie Grace led the Colonels with nine tackles each. Spence and senior Marquise Piton each recorded a sack for Eastern.
Quarterback Ronald Butler was 23-of-37 for 222 yards for Tennessee State (3-4, 0-4 OVC)
The Colonels travel to Jacksonville State next Saturday to face the No. 1-ranked Gamecocks. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
-Eastern Kentucky is ranked No. 13 in the STATS.com Poll and No. 14 in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Colonels play at No. 1 Jacksonville State next Saturday, Oct. 31.
-EKU has won nine straight Homecoming games and is 12-4 in those games since 2000.
-Redshirt junior Noah Spence entered the game leading the nation with an average of 2.0 tackles for a loss per game and fourth in FCS with 1.17 sacks per game. He finished Saturday’s game with two tackles for a loss, including one sack.
-The Colonels now have 21 sacks this season and have only allowed five.
-EKU entered the game having scored on an OVC-best 89.7 percent of its trips inside the red zone. However, on Saturday the Colonels scored on “only” 75 percent (6-of-8) trips inside the red zone.
-Including today’s game against Tennessee State, EKU had out-scored its opponents at Roy Kidd Stadium this season 148-44.
-Eastern has out-scored its opponents 51-21 in the first quarter this season and 135-51 in the first half.
-EKU came into the game leading the OVC and 11th in the nation with just six turnovers lost this season. Eastern had just one turnover against TSU.
-Tennessee State entered the game third in the OVC allowing 25.7 points per game. EKU scored 45 points.
-Eastern Kentucky leads the all-time series with Tennessee State 23-5 and the Colonels are now 14-2 against the Tigers in games played in Richmond.
-Redshirt junior slot receiver Bryan Green caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He has caught a scoring toss in three straight games. He added a 6-yard scoring reception in the third quarter for his fourth of the season.
-An 80-yard touchdown run up the middle by freshman Ethan Thomas in the second quarter was the longest offensive play of the season for the Colonels and the fourth rushing touchdown of the season for Thomas.
-The 80-yard Ethan Thomas touchdown run was the longest offensive play for the Colonels since an 84-yard pass by T.J. Pryor on Oct. 13, 2012. It is the longest rushing play since Bobby Washington ran for a 99-yard touchdown on Oct. 27, 2007 at Murray State.
-Redshirt junior Kiante Northington’s second quarter interception in the end zone was his second pick of the season and the fourth of his career.
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