10.17 eku

There were no tears running down the faces of the Eastern Kentucky University players following a heartbreaking last-second loss on Saturday in Alabama.

They Colonels (1-4) weren't sad.

They were angry.

"There's a locker room full of men who are mad," first-year EKU coach Walt Wells said. "They are not crying. They are mad - and that's a good thing."

That reaction was understandable.

The Colonels took a one-point lead, 29-28, over Troy University with 21 seconds left, giving them a chance to earn their first victory over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team since 2014.

The Titans, though, had just enough time to answer back.

Evan Legassy hit a 47-yard field on the final play of the game to give Troy (3-1) a 31-29 win at home. The Colonels out-scored the Titans 12-3 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to avoid a second-straight hard-fought loss.

"We came in here for a victory," Wells said. "We are not happy."

The Colonels rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit two weeks ago, but suffered a 33-30 loss at Roy Kidd Stadium to Houston Baptist.

On Saturday, the Titans had a 28-17 lead early in the third quarter before the Colonels started to rally. Alexander Woznick kicked field goals of 22 and 25 yards to get EKU back within five points (28-23).

The Colonels got the ball back late and put together an incredible drive.

Facing a 4th-and-9 from their own 33-yard line, redshirt sophomore quarterback Parker McKinney hit Keyion Dixon on a 37-yard pass. Jackson Beerman had a 26-yard reception before Dixon caught his second touchdown reception of the game - this time a 4-yarder.

Dixon had eight catches for a career-best 196 yards, while McKinney completed 30-of-47 passes for career-best 370 yards.

The Colonels couldn't hold on to that lead.

A big kickoff return, then two 15-yard pass plays put the Titans in position to claim a thrilling victory.

"You play to win the game. And we've got to find way to do that," Wells said.

The Titans took the lead just more than two minutes into the game on a 16-yard TD pass from Gunnar Watson to A.J. Lewis.

EKU answered back with a history play. Dixon got free up the right side and scored on a 90-yard touchdown - the longest TD reception in program history.

Another Watson TD put Troy back in front late in the first quarter, before Woznick connected on a 19-yard field goal and Alonzo Booth scored on a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Colonels their first lead (17-14).

The Titans scored just before the half (Kimani Vidal 1-yard run) and after the half (Reggie Todd 22-yard catch) to go back in front.

The Trojans had 507 yards of total offense, but the Colonels forced three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble). Troy had only 10 second-half points, allowing EKU to put together a comeback.

"(Defensive coordinator) Jake (Johnson) did a great job a great job with the calls and the kids executed" Wells said. "They are getting more comfortable with what we are asking them to do."

The Colonels had 425 yards of total offense, had the ball for more than 34 minutes and won the turnover margin (+2).

Jacquez Jones had eight catches for 75 yards and Beerman had six catches for 57 yards. Booth had a team-best 39 yards rushing on 15 attempts.

Vidal had 143 yards rushing for Troy. Watson was 26-of-38 for 333 yards and three touchdowns.

It was another disappointing result for the Colonels.

However, Wells was pleased that afterwards his team was mad and not sad.

"I told them, tough, it doesn't mean anything if we don't do something last week," Wells said.

The Colonels are set to return to action Saturday at home against Central Arkansas.

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