By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Colonels recorded their first home shutout in 11 years on Saturday, rolling past Tennessee State 44-0 at Roy Kidd Stadium.
That performance was the highlight of a very impressive four-game stretch for the EKU defense, during which opponents have been held to just 20 points and only two touchdowns.
But, senior punter Jordan Berry also deserved some credit for keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard.
When the Colonels were forced to punt, the Australian born kicker kept Tennessee State pinned against the goal line.
Berry averaged 49.2 yards on five punts (246 yards), with a long of 61 yards, and placed four of those kicks inside the 20-yard line.
The Tigers had 11 possessions in the game and their best starting field position was from their own 35-yard line. TSU had two punt returns for -1 total yard.
On all of Berry’s punts, the Tigers started the following drive inside the 20-yard line each time.
On the only kick of Berry’s that didn’t reach the 20, the Tennessee State returner was tackled for an eight-yard loss at the 19-yard line.
Led by the senior kicker, EKU is ranked second nationally (among FCS schools) in net punting at 41.7 yards a game. In the past three games, Berry has connected on six punts of more than 50 yards.
This season, Berry has punts of 76 and 75 yards.
Beating a good team
The victory over Tennessee State (7-3, 4-2 OVC) was the first win this season for the Colonels against a team with a winning record.
EKU’s first five wins came at the expense of team’s with a combined record of 12-33.
The Colonels’ three losses this season came against teams with a combined record of 24-2.
Still tough against the run
The Colonels gave up just 71 yards rushing on 34 carries in the win over Tennessee State.
EKU is allowing just 99.4 yards a game on the ground, which is easily the best in the OVC. TSU is second at 119.1 yards a game.
Only four other FCS teams are allowing fewer yards on the ground a game than the Colonels — North Dakota State (78.5), South Carolina State (82.7), Bethune-Cookman (87.1) and North Carolina A&T (90.0).