RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University football team forced five turnovers on its way to a 43-20 win over Samford University Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium. The Colonels (3-2, 2-0 OVC) held possession of the ball for less than a third of the game, but intercepted five Bulldog (3-2, 1-1) passes.
Eastern scored first and never trailed. Samford drew to within four points, 14-10, in the second quarter, but wouldn’t get any closer. The Colonels scored 14 straight to put the game away.
Senior Bobby Washington led the Colonels with 94 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown. Fellow senior Mark Dunn rushed nine times for 51 yards and scored once. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Allan Holland completed 11 of 16 passes for 197 yards and tossed two touchdowns.
Chris Evans finished with 92 yards on 23 carries for Samford. Marcus Rice and Alex Barnett combined for 86 yards rushing. Jefferson Adcock went 20-of-39 for Samford but totaled just 164 yards and threw five interceptions.
Junior Zach Denton stopped the Bulldogs on their opening possession when he intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards to the Samford 15-yard line. It didn’t take the Colonels long to get on the board. After an incomplete pass and a run for no gain, Holland took to the end zone himself for a 6-0 lead. Taylor Long tacked on the extra point.
Samford came right back and put together a 12-play scoring drive that covered 65 yards in 5:40. Rice opened the drive by picking up 30 yards on the ground on the first four plays. Adcock capped it off with a 4-yard scoring strike to Michael Deen. Samford added the point-after to tie the game with 5:01 left in the opening quarter.
EKU orchestrated a scoring drive midway through the second period to move back in front by seven. After downing a Samford punt at their own five yard line, the Colonels marched 95 yards in just four plays to find the end zone. Washington picked up three yards on the first play and then ripped off a 30-yard run. Holland then found Quinton Williams over the middle for a big gain. The 58-yard pass play put EKU on the Samford five yard line. Dunn scored his third touchdown of the season and with the extra point Eastern led 14-7 with 8:57 left before halftime.
The Bulldogs used a fumble by EKU to cut the deficit to 14-10. Holland fumbled at the eight and Derek Slaughter recovered the ball for the Bulldogs at the nine yard line. However, the Colonels were able to keep the visitors out of the end zone as Mark Prevost was forced to convert a 25-yard field goal.
Both teams took turns punting before Eastern Kentucky put together a drive to end the half. Back-to-back completions by Holland moved the ball 14 yards before the Colonel quarterback picked up six more on the ground. After an incompletion, an 11-yard reception by Williams moved the ball across midfield to the Samford 44. A 12-yard completion by Holland to Evan Cromer and another 6-yard gainer on the ground by Holland had the Colonels at the Bulldog 26-yard line. After an EKU timeout Holland connected with Kyle Barber for a touchdown with 20 seconds left on the clock.
The Bulldogs held the ball for over 22 minutes and ran 18 more offensive plays than Eastern in the first half but still trailed, 21-10, at the break. Samford had 121 yards on the ground and 91 through the air for 212 total yards. EKU had 70 rushing yards and 128 passing yards for a total of 198.
Eastern Kentucky wasted little time getting going in the second half. The Colonels came out of the locker room and started the third quarter with a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive. All 71 yards came on the ground and only one pass was attempted. Dunn picked up 13 yards on a pair of carries and Washington followed with two carries of his own for another 20 yards. After an incomplete pass Dunn’s run moved the ball down to the 26-yard line. On the next play Holland handed off to Washington who went up the middle untouched for 26 yards to the end zone. With 13:33 left in the quarter EKU led 28-10.
The Bulldogs answered with a scoring drive of their own, but could only get three points out of it. Samford moved the ball into EKU territory and had a first down at the 14-yard line but the drive stalled. On third and three at the seven, Gathof broke up an Adcock pass and the visitors settled for a 24-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 28-13.
A 22-yard kick-off return by Davin Walker allowed the Eastern drive to start at its own 41 yard line. A run for no gain followed by a holding penalty made it second and 15. Holland then hit Garnett Phelps down the left sideline for a 64-yard touchdown pass. The Colonels failed to convert the extra point but led 34-13 and were never seriously threatened again.
The Colonels will hit the road for their next game. EKU travels to Charleston, Ill., on Saturday to face defending OVC champ Eastern Illinois at 2:30 p.m.
--Allan Holland’s third quarter pass to Garnett Phelps that covered 64 yards was the longest pass of the season for Eastern Kentucky.
--Allan Holland’s fumble in the second quarter was the first fumble lost by Eastern Kentucky this season.
--Allan Holland tied his career-high for passing yards in the third quarter. He finished with 197 yards against Southeast Missouri State in 2006. The junior from Hazard, Ky., also surpassed the 1,000-yard career passing mark.
--The Colonels have now won eight straight in the series with Samford. Today’s meeting will likely be the last between the two teams for some time as Samford is moving to the Southern Conference in 2008.
--Eastern Kentucky improves to 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference for the second time in three years.
--The Colonels are now 19-2 under head coach Danny Hope when Eastern has fewer turnovers than its opponent.
--EKU forced five Samford turnovers today. The last time Eastern forced a team into five turnovers was Nov. 12, 2005 against Tennessee-Martin.
--Eastern Kentucky is now +11 in turnover margin through five games.