Alonzo Booth never let the disappointing setbacks get to him.

He just always kept several inspirational thoughts in his mind.

"Everything happens for a reason," Booth said. "Your time is going to come and when it comes, make it happen.

Booth had to wait for two years.

Now, he's getting a chance to make it happen.

The 6-foot-1, redshirt sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, had a career-high 128 yards rushing on seven carries with three touchdowns in EKU's 53-7 season-opening win over Valparaiso last Thursday.

Booth scored twice in the second quarter (10 yards and two yards), then broke loose for a career-high 86-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

"We think the world of Alonzo," EKU coach Mark Elder said. "Everyone inside the program has known about Alonzo. He's just had some circumstances the past couple of years that have kept him from being known by people outside the program."

Booth was the runner-up for Ohio's Mr. Football award in 2016 and finished his high school career with 4,252 career rushing yards and 67 touchdowns (41 as a senior).

He jumped right into the running back rotation when he arrived at EKU.

He played in seven games as a true freshman, including the season opener against Western Kentucky.

"As a true freshman, he was playing against Kentucky," Elder said of Booth.

His freshman season was interrupted by an injury. The running back missed four games before returning to the line-up late in the year.

Booth finished with just nine rush attempts, had a two-point conversion and also returned four kickoffs for 70 yards.

"He just hasn't had many opportunities to showcase what he can do," Elder said of Booth. "I think think he is going to get those opportunities this year."

A year later, Booth hoped to get more opportunity to be part of the offense.

And he did.

For a while.

Booth scored touchdowns in each of the first two games (Morehead State and Marshall) in 2018 and had a career-high six carries against both Bowling Green and SEMO.

After four games, though, the coaching staff made the decision to redshirt the running back.

"Being behind the (running backs) we've had the past couple of years (on the depth chart) has just made me more confident," Booth said. "I've been doing it for a long time. Since my freshman year. I've had some setbacks, but I was always confident."

Daryl McCleskey and L.J. Scott led the EKU rushing attack past couple of seasons.

McCleskey is back, but Scott, the team's leading rusher in 2018 (780 yards), graduated.

That gave Booth the chance to step up into Scott's role as EKU's big, physical threat out of the backfield with breakaway speed.

The redshirt sophomore averaged 18.3 yards a carry in the season-opening blowout of Valpo.

"My time is here. I made it happen," Booth said.

The Colonels (1-0) are set to return to action Saturday at Louisville.

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