The Colonels went for the big play right away.
And after an 84-yard touchdown pass just more than two minutes into the game, the disappointment that still lingered from last week’s loss at Tennessee State quickly evaporated.
From that point on, the Colonels were in complete control.
Senior quarterback T.J. Pryor set two more career passing records and All-American Matt Denham rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns as EKU (5-2, 2-1 OVC) hammered winless Austin Peay (0-7, 0-5), 45-14, Saturday on Homecoming at Roy Kidd Stadium.
The Colonels had a 28-point lead in the second half and finished with 474 yards of total offense.
“When you have a loss like (last week at Tennessee State), you are either going to have a chink in your armor or the guys are going to lock arms and its going to make them stronger,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “I really feel like they had a resolve about them this week and they came out showed it.”
Last week’s 23-20 loss in Nashville knocked the preseason OVC favorites out of first place and made Tennessee State (7-0, 3-0) the front-runner for the title.
A lopsided victory certainly eased some of the sting of that setback.
“Last week was basically a wake-up call for us,” Pryor said. “We just had to come out this week and play harder.”
On their first play from scrimmage, the Colonels set the tone.
Pryor hit Cameron Bailey, who was wide open on the left sideline. The senior went untouched into the end zone.
“For a minute I thought (T.J.) was going to overthrow me,” Bailey said. “But, we talked about it before the game. I knew he was throwing with the wind and he threw a great ball.”
That touchdown pass was the longest of Pryor’s career and tied the senior with Jim Guice for the school’s career passing TD record (46).
After Denham scored on an 18-yard run in the first quarter, Pryor broke the school’s all-time completions record (478 — Josh Greco) on a 28-yard TD pass to Tyrone Goard with 11:01 left before halftime.
Two weeks ago, the senior set the school record for career passing yards (6,547).
“It feels great,” Pryor said. “Those records are awesome. I just wish I could have all my teams on (the record too). It just feels great.”
Denham scored again, this time on a 5-yard run, with 5:47 left in the second, giving EKU a 28-7 lead at halftime.
The Colonels had 302 total yards of offense in the first half.
Justin Bell ended any thought of a Peay comeback early in the second half. The senior defensive back got his hands on a tipped ball and went 16 yards for a touchdown.
“There was nobody out there, so I just hustled over to make the play,” Bell said. “He tipped it up and it went into my hands.”
That gave the Colonels a comfortable 35-7 lead.
Luke Pray connected on a 29-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the third and Xavier Foster scored on a 4-yard run in opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Governors have given the Colonels trouble in recent years.
Austin Peay beat EKU in 2009 and 2011 at home and the previous two games at Roy Kidd Stadium were also very competitive as well — 2008, 13-10 win in OT; 2010, 17-3 win.
“We haven’t played our best games against them, but coming out here today we knew we had to stay focused,” Pryor said.
Austin Peay hasn’t won in Richmond since 1977.
Pryor was 8-of-13 for 232 yards. Bailey had 125 yards on three catches and Nathan Watts had three catches for 85 yards.
After Saturday’s action, three teams are tied for second place in the OVC behind Tennessee State — EKU (3-1), Eastern Illinois (3-1) and UT-Martin (3-1).
The Colonels are set to return to action Saturday at Tennessee Tech.
“The OVC is always great,” Pryor said. “Any team can beat any team. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
The Colonels went for the big play right away.
BOWLING: Simpson bowls no-tap 900 series
I do not usually start this column with the top accomplishment in the no-tap league (where nine pins down with the first ball in a frame counts as a strike), but I will make an exception this week because a no-tap 900 series was bowled Tuesday by Brandon Simpso
L.L. BASEBALL: All-Stars eliminated
The Richmond Junior and Senior All-Stars were eliminated from the Kentucky State Little League Tournament on Tuesday in Madison County.
GOLF: Central’s Nowlin named Player of the Year
Madison Central golf star Tristyn Nowlin continues to show with her play in summer events that she is one of the best the state has to offer.
GOLF: Local youth golfers pick up victories
Local golfers turned in some outstanding performances Monday at the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event at Danville County Club.
GLENMORE: Miracle Memorial Scramble a success
Last Saturday, 45 people teed it up in a drizzle at the Madison Country Club in the second-annual Ed Miracle Memorial Golf Scramble.
L.L. BASEBALL: Senior stars shine, while Juniors fall
The Richmond All-Stars opened play in the Kentucky Little League State Senior League and Junior League Tournaments on Monday at Madison Central High School.
OVC FOOTBALL: EKU picked fourth in preseason poll
Eastern Kentucky University’s football team has never been picked lower than fourth in any Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll.
BASEBALL: Little League state tournaments to start today
Weather forced the postponement of the Kentucky State Little League Junior and Senior Tournaments on Saturday in Richmond.
OVC FOOTBALL: Jax State 1st, Colonels 4th in preseason media poll
For the first time in recent history the Ohio Valley Conference has conducted a Preseason Football Media Poll prior to the start of the season. In total 14 voters from around the league cast a ballot on who they thought would be the 2014 football favorites and preseason players of the year.
BOWLING: Peanut cashes in at National Seniors Tourney
Robert “Peanut” Johnson “cashed” (Placed high enough to earn a cash award) at the National Seniors Tournament, which was held at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., last week.
- More Sports Headlines
- BOWLING: Simpson bowls no-tap 900 series