By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Tyrone Goard hadn’t caught a touchdown pass in three games, but he ended that streak Saturday during an outstanding performance against in-state rival Murray State.
The senior wide receiver hauled in a 22-yard TD pass from running back Deshaun Sands just before halftime of the Colonels’ 55-24 Senior Day victory. Goard tied a career-high with seven receptions and had 152 yards, his second-best total of the season, as EKU finished up the regular season with an emphatic victory.
On Monday, Goard was named the FCS Wide Receiver Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.
Two other Colonels were also honored by the organization on Monday.
T.J. Pryor (14-of-20 230 yards, one touchdown) was an honorable mention quarterback performer of the week and Matt Denham (214 yards and four touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving) was an honorable mention running back performance of the week.
So far this season, Goard has a career-best 41 catches for 900 yards and eight touchdowns.
The senior has four 100-plus yard receiving games on the season and leads the Ohio Valley Conference in yards per catch (22 yards a catch).
He has also caught touchdown passes from three different players this season — Pryor (six), sophomore Jared McClain (one) and Sands (one).
For his career, Goard has 1,842 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns. He is currently ninth on the school’s all-time receiving yardage list, just 14 yards behind Patrick Bugg (2002-6).
The senior will likely catch Bugg and perhaps also Elmo Boyd (1,931, 1973-6) if the Colonels (8-3, 6-2 OVC) receive an at-large bid to the FCS Playoffs.
EKU does not play this week and will find out its postseason fate when the 20-team field for the playoffs is announced on Sunday evening.
Turnover margin widens
The Colonels headed into their regular-season finale against Murray State with an eye-popping +17 turnover margin.
And they once again won the turnover battle.
EKU forced a fumble and an interception and did not give the ball away in the 55-24 win. The Colonels are now +19 on the season, which is third in the country among FCS schools (+1.73 a game).
EKU has given up the ball more than twice just one time this season (Purdue — four) and has just nine turnovers all year.
The Colonels have had no turnovers in six games this season.
Last week’s thrashing of Murray State helped the Colonels move up one spot in the FCS Coaches Poll.
EKU is ranked 17th this week.
In The Sports Network Poll, the Colonels remained at 22nd for the second-straight week.
After wrapping up the OVC title Saturday, Eastern Illinois jumped into both polls this week.
The Panthers are 24th in The Sports Network Poll and 25th in the FCS Coaches Poll.
Eastern Illinois had not been ranked since Sept. 6, 2010.