EKU falls on road - File Photo by Ron Hamblin
EKU falls on road – File Photo by Ron Hamblin

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Lucas Williams opened overtime with a 25-yard field goal, but Tennessee Tech University scored a touchdown on its possession to beat the Eastern Kentucky University football team 33-30 on Saturday in Cookeville, Tenn.

The Golden Eagles won on Michael Birdsong’s four-yard touchdown pass to Alex Carling.

EKU quarterback Bennie Coney broke his own school record with 464 passing yards.  He completed 32-of-49 passes, tossed three touchdowns and just one interception.  Two receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark.  Devin Borders caught nine passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.  Ryan Markush caught seven balls for 104 yards and a touchdown.

The Colonels out-gained Tech 559 to 446.

Eastern grabbed the early lead when Jared Sanders broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run four minutes into the game.  The two-point conversion failed, leaving the visitors up 6-0.

Tennessee Tech answered with a pair of touchdowns to go in front 14-6.  The second came on a 22-yard scoring toss from Birdsong to Dontez Byrd.

The Colonels closed the gap with a late first half scoring drive.  Coney drove the team 68 yards on five plays in 1:32 for a touchdown.  On third-and-one, Coney connected with Dan Paul for 28 yards down the left sideline to the TTU 31 yard line.  Two plays later Coney tossed a rainbow to Markush from 27 yards out.  The extra-point made it a one-point game, 14-13.

The Golden Eagles put up a 42-yard field goal 28 seconds remaining in the first half and took a four-point lead into the locker room at the break.

EKU wasted little time in the second half, scoring on its first possession to take the lead.  The Colonels covered 65 yards in four plays and took just 44 seconds to score.  Coney covered all the real estate through the air, finding Markush for 27 yards and Borders for 12 to the 26 yard line.  On the next play, Borders created space with the defender and then went up and grabbed a pass in the end zone.  The extra point put Eastern on top 20-17.

Tech tied it with a 26-yard field goal by Nick Madonia with 2:38 left in the third quarter.  The Golden Eagles went up by seven at the 6:37 mark of the fourth quarter when Birdsong threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Byrd.

After the offense turned the ball over on downs, the Colonels defense forced a punt.  Coney went to work with 2:30 left in the game and 72 yards away from the tying touchdown.  The redshirt senior completed all five attempts on the drive.  He hooked up twice with Borders, one for 22 and one for nine yards.  After an Ethan Thomas rush for a first down, Coney found Bryan Green for four yards and then Borders again for 10 to the TTU 25 yard line.  On the next play, Coney found Dan Crimmins in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.  Lucas Williams made the extra-point to tie the score.

Birdsong finished 27-of-42 for 327 yards.  He threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions.  Byrd caught seven passes, including two touchdowns, for 116 yards.

The Colonels will host Southeast Missouri on Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium.  The Redhawks knocked off No. 13 Eastern Illinois on Saturday.  The Maroon Out game will begin at 6 p.m. ET.


Bennie Coney broke his own school record for passing yards in a game.  His previous mark of 417 came last season at Murray State.

Bennie Coney entered the game with 3,815 career passing yards, seventh-most in program history.  On his first attempt of the game, he completed a nine-yard pass to Dan Crimmins and moved past Lorenzo Fields (1987-90 – 3,819 yards) into sixth place.  Later in the game he moved to fifth place, passing Ernie House (1974-77 – 4,011 yards).  Coney now has 4,279 career passing yards.

Bennie Coney’s second quarter, 27-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Markush was the 32nd career touchdown toss for Coney.  He would go on to add touchdowns No. 33 and 34.

Devin Borders entered the game 10th on EKU’s top-10 career receiving yards list with 1,577 yards.  After finishing with nine catches for 121 yards he is now 144yards away from ninth place.