The Colonels and Skyhawks put together very impressive performances last weekend at home in their Ohio Valley Conference openers.

They combined to rack up more than 1,000 yards of total offense and 50 total first downs in lopsided wins.

"They just had a big win that was very convincing," EKU coach Mark Elder said of UT-Martin. "You've got two teams who will walk into the stadium (this weekend) feeling pretty good about themselves."

Those big wins set the stage for an early-season, first-place showdown at Roy Kidd Stadium.

EKU is set to take on UT-Martin today on Homecoming.

Game time is set for 3 p.m.

"It was good to get a win," UT-Martin coach Jason Simpson said. "Now, we have to go on the road and take on a quality opponent in a place we haven't had a whole lot success. We've got to get ready to play."

After three-straight road games, the Colonels returned home and overwhelmed Tennessee State last week.

EKU finished with 379 yards rushing and rolled to a 42-16 victory.

The Colonels did not have a turnovers, were 4-for-4 in the red zone (all touchdowns), allowed only one sack and finished with 525 yards of total offense against the Tigers.

"I thought the guys went out and executed extremely well," Elder said of the win over Tennessee State. "I thought we played well in all three phases. We put together one of the best game we've had in the time that I've been here."

The Skyhawks were just as impressive.

UT-Martin bolted out to a 24-0 lead and costed to a 40-7 victory over Murray State. The Skyhawks had 32 first downs and 500 yards of total offense (332 passing).

"This is a team that his hungry and playing its best football," Elder said o f UT-Martin.

The Skyhawks had lost two-straight games, but coming off an open week, they were sharp. They ran 95 offensive plays and did not have a turnover.

John Bachus, a redshirt freshman, completed 26-of-42 passes for 312 yards and one touchdown.

"They are putting the ball in his hands and counting on him to make plays," Elder said of Bachus. "For a redshirt freshman, he's doing a remarkable job."

Bachus is fifth in the OVC in passing yards a game, but the Colonels lead the league in pass defense. EKU allows just 172.6 yards a game through the air.

Last week, the Colonels held the potent TSU air attack in check and came up with two interceptions.

"That's the first time (this season) that everyone came together and did their assignment," EKU defensive lineman Aaron Patrick said. "I think it was good for morale to get a nice convincing win."

The ground attack was a big reason for the big win.

Senior Daryl McCleskey had 202 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns against TSU. Sophomore Alonzo Booth added 115 yards on 12 carries two touchdowns as well.

The Colonels averaged nine yards a rush attempt and had five rushing touchdowns.

"Anytime you for 379 rushing yards, it's not just because of one individual or group," Elder said. "Our backs ran really well. They ran through some tackles and our offensive line created some holes for them. The receivers did a good job too. You are not putting up those kinds of numbers if the receivers aren't out there blocking. It was a group effort."

The Colonels have the top rushing attack in the league, averaging 243.8 yards a game.

McCleskey leads the OVC in rushing yards a game (118.0) and leads all FCS players nationally in yards per carry (8.81). 

In the win over TSU, the senior surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career on just 364 carries (5.7 yards an attempt).

"He certainly is explosive," Elder said of McCleskey.

Booth has seven touchdowns (eighth-best in FCS) and is fourth in the league in rushing yards a game (73.0).

"They break a lot of tackles and sometimes they make up for some of our mistakes," EKU offensive lineman Graham Ashkettle said. "They ran some people over and made some plays."

The teams that makes the most plays today at Roy Kidd Stadium will stay in first place, while the other will drop back into the middle of the pack.

And a win for either team would be huge, for many reasons.

Jacksonville State, which has won the past five OVC titles, dropped its conference opener last week to Austin Peay, 52-33.

Tennessee Tech is the only other 1-0 team in the league heading into this weekend.

"It's great to have back-to-back home games, then go into a bye," Elder said.

EKU leads the all-time series with UT-Martin 25-4. The Colonels are 12-2 all-time against the Skyhawks at home.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you