EKU Clinches Playoff Berth

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The #13 Eastern Kentucky University football team earned its first NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berth in 10 years thanks to a 28-14 victory over host Austin Peay Saturday afternoon at Governors Stadium. With the win, the Colonels (8-2, 7-0 OVC) also clinch at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference crown.

Eastern never trailed against Austin Peay (6-4, 4-3), but could not pull away from the Governors until late in the contest. The Colonels struck first on their opening possession. Eastern moved the ball 74 yards on nine plays before junior quarterback Allan Holland found senior Quinton Williams for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Austin Peay responded late in the first quarter to even the score at 7-all. The Governors received a fortuitous bounce on the touchdown play as Jon Sanders picked up quarterback Gary Orr’s fumble at the 10-yard line and rumbled the rest of the way into endzone.

The Colonels bounced back with a score on their ensuing drive and never trailed the rest of the way. Facing 4th-and-5 from the APSU 29-yard line, Eastern Kentucky went for the first down and came away with a touchdown. Senior Mark Dunn ran around the right end, bounced off a few tackles and broke away for the score.

The second quarter was filled with missed opportunities by both teams, but EKU put together a touchdown drive right before halftime to take a 21-7 lead into the break. Holland capped the quick one minute drive with his second touchdown toss, a 20-yard strike over the middle to sophomore C.J. Walker.

Eastern Kentucky had Austin Peay stopped at midfield on its first possession of the third quarter, but an EKU personal foul penalty kept the Governor drive alive. On the very next play, running back Chris Fletcher burst through the Colonel defense for a 33-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to seven, 21-14.

The Colonels finished the scoring on their next drive. Facing a 2nd-and-20 at the Austin Peay 49-yard line, Holland hooked up with freshman Charles Johnson for a 38-yard gain. Three plays later, Holland snuck into the endzone to make the score, 28-14.

Eastern Kentucky’s red zone defense proved to be the difference in the game. Austin Peay reached the red zone five times only to come away with points on one occasion. The Governors were intercepted twice, missed a field goal and also proceeded to turn the ball over on downs.

EKU concludes the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 17, with a home contest against Tennessee Tech. The Colonels have won three straight over the Golden Eagles in Richmond. Game time is set for 1 p.m.