The conditions were miserable, but the chilly wind, driving rain and the large areas of standing water all over the field didn't seem to bother the Eastern Kentucky University defense at all.
The Colonels limited Eastern Illinois (0-9, 0-5) to just 89 total yards of offense and rolled to a 33-6 win on Saturday in Charleston, Ill. Alonzo Booth scored his league-leading 11th rushing touchdown and Sam Hayworth hit four second-half field goals as EKU (5-3, 3-1 OVC) stayed in a three-way tie for second place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a big road victory.
"The weather clearly played a part in this game," EKU coach Mark Elder said in a postgame radio interview. "It was wet. It was a cold wet and it was windy. So, to give up just 89 total yards in a game, that's pretty good. I'm proud of them. I think we out-played them in all three phases."
It was an impressive defensive performance, no doubt.
Eastern Illinois was 0-for-15 on third-down attempts, had two turnovers and averaged just 1.53 yards a play.
After Hayworth connected on a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the Colonels had almost as many points (33) as the Panthers had total yards of offense (34).
The final statistics were a bit distorted because the Panthers picked up six of their eight first downs and more than 50 yards on the final drive of the game after EKU had taken out many of its starters.
Eastern Illinois scored on a 10-yard catch by Isaiah Hill with 57 seconds left.
That touchdown ended EKU's attempt to snap a long shutout drought.
The Colonels have not held an opponent scoreless since Oct. 4, 2014 - a streak of 57 games.
The Panthers finished with the second-fewest total yards in team history. The school record was 76 yards in 1973.
EIU had 40 rushing yards on 30 attempts - an average of 1.3 yards a carry.
"We made it really hard for them to run the football and we didn't have a sack," Elder said.
EKU's offense was not great either on a sloppy afternoon.
It certainly was good enough, though. especially when given short fields over and over by the defense.
The Colonels finished with 279 yards of offense, 265 of which came on the ground. Daryl McCleskey, the OVC's leading rusher, finished with 79 yards on 18 attempts. Booth had 73 yards on 21 attempts.
Ellis Cain and quarterback Parker McKinney both had rushing touchdowns.
"We were able to run the ball when they knew we were going to run the football," Elder said.
McKinney was just 2-of-9 passing for 14 yards with an interception.
EKU had a 14-0 lead at halftime after a 7-yard touchdown run by Booth and a 17-yard TD run by McKinney.
Hayworth hit a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter, then connected three more times in the final period. Cain scored on a 1-yard TD run with 4:56 left in the game.
The Colonels are tied for second place with SEMO (3-1) and Austin Peay (3-1). All three teams are a half game behind UT-Martin (4-1).
EKU returns home next week to take on Austin Peay at Roy Kidd Stadium. Game time is set for 1 p.m.