The Richmond Register

Sports

October 18, 2012

OVC FOOTBALL: Offense, defense helping EKU control the clock

LEXINGTON — Generally, time of possession is  considered an offensive statistic in college football.

But, the defense plays a big part as well.

“It goes both ways,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “If they go three-and-out, then their time of possession is down and if you are stringing together long drives, then you are gaining time.”

This year’s Colonels are a perfect example of that balance.

EKU leads the Ohio Valley Conference in time of possession and is ranked 11th nationally among FCS schools (33:15). The Colonels have possessed the ball for at least 32 minutes in six straight games, five of which were victories.

A big part of that of success, of course, has been EKU’s potent rushing attack.

The Colonels lead the OVC not only in total rushing yards (1,398) but rushing attempts. EKU has run the ball 339 times through seven games this season.

 No other OVC team has run the ball more than 300 times.

The Colonels also have gained 84 first downs rushing (21.4 a game) this season, which is also by far the most in the OVC. SEMO is second at 71 (18.8 a game).

“That clock keeps moving when you are running the ball,” Hood said.

The defense has done its part as well.

In four games against OVC competition, the Colonels (5-2, 3-1 OVC) have forced three-and-outs 13 times, which accounts for 26 percent of their opponents possessions.

The EKU defense has also only allowed six drives of more than 10 plays against OVC foes, while also forcing eight turnovers.

“You’ve got to get off the field and let the offense do its thing,” EKU junior Ichiro Vance said. “Whenever that happens, we know we are going to have a good game.”

The Colonels have won the time of possession battle in six of seven games this season and have won five of those six games.

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