Daryl McCleskey Jr., knew it would be tough to keep his emotions in check when he stepped on the field at Roy Kidd Stadium last Saturday.
And with good reason.
"I've been here four years and that was my last home game," the EKU senior running back said. "I was just trying to live up every moment."
McCleskey certainly had some memorial moments as the Colonels picked up an impressive win on Senior Day.
The senior from Dayton, Ohio, had a team-best 106 yards rushing and scored a touchdown as EKU (6-5) defeated Tennessee Tech, 22-10.
It was the fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season for McCleskey.
"It's a special day," McCleskey said. "It was great to end it with a win."
The running back has put together a special senior season.
McCleskey leads the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing yards — 1,128 yards (10th nationally among all FCS players), rushing yards a game (102.5) and is averaging 5.94 yards a carry (second-best in the OVC).
He has a career-best nine touchdowns (eight rushing, one receiving) this season along with almost 1,300 all-purpose yards.
"Daryl has been the heart and soul of this offense all year," EKU coach Mark Elder said. "We trust him."
McCleskey has earned that trust.
The senior has 190 rush attempts and 26 receptions this season — and he's fumbled just once.
On Saturday against Tennessee Tech, McCleskey had 26 carries and one catch.
"He fought hard. He ran hard. He got a lot of yards after contact," Elder said of McCleskey's performance last Saturday.
The Golden Eagles took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after a turnover.
The Colonels rallied behind McCleskey.
The senior carried the ball five times on the ensuing drive, including a 15-yard run that set up a first-and-goal.
McCleskey pulled EKU even with a 1-yard run with 2:41 left in the opening period.
The Colonels got three field goals from Sam Hayworth and a touchdown run by Alonzo Booth as they limited TTU to just 150 total yards of offense, including two yards rushing.
"Our defense played lights out. They made every play. They put the offense in great field position all game," McCleskey said. "We love when they do that."
McCleskey has played in 42 games since he arrived at EKU in 2016.
Heading into his final game as a Colonel, McCleskey has 25 career touchdowns and 3,316 yards of total offense.
He has 2,597 rushing yards, which leaves him just outside of the program's Top 10 all-time rushers.
McCleskey, though, isn't worried about records.
With a win over Jacksonville State on Saturday in Alabama, the Colonels will secure back-to-back season with seven or more wins.
That hasn't happened since 2011-2012.
"It would be great for our program to end things on a high note," McCleskey said. "We just want to keep building."