RICHMOND, Ky. –Eastern Kentucky University’s football team finished off a perfect Ohio Valley Conference season by beating Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon at Roy Kidd Stadium, 38-24. The #12 Colonels (9-2, 8-0 OVC) begin play in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs next week.
On Senior Day, Eastern senior Mark Dunn scored three touchdowns for the Colonels. Junior Allan Holland completed 22-of-35 passes for 194 yards and tossed a pair of touchdown passes. Senior wide out Quinton Williams caught both touchdown passes and finished with five receptions for 88 yards.
EKU converted 11-of-21 third down situations while limiting Tennessee Tech (4-7, 2-6 OVC) to just one third down conversion in 14 attempts.
Eastern Kentucky wasted little time getting on the board. On the sixth play of the opening drive, Holland found Williams over the middle for a 50-yard touchdown strike. Williams hauled in the pass and then accelerated away from one defender and into the end zone. With just 1:39 off the clock, the Colonels had a 7-0 lead.
Following a 45-yard Tennessee Tech field goal by Justin Kraemer that cut the deficit to 7-3, the Colonels used their running game to engineer a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. EKU covered 61 yards on the ground, including 29 by Dunn. The native of Harrodsburg, Ky., capped off the drive with a four-yard scoring run.
The Colonels were forced to punt on their next possession, but Tech fumbled the punt return and EKU got the ball at the TTU 12-yard line. Three plays later Holland hooked up with Williams again, this time from eight yards out and following the extra point, Eastern Kentucky had a 21-3 lead with 13:50 left in the first half.
The Golden Eagles benefited from good field position to draw within 21-10. Tennessee Tech blocked an Eastern punt attempt and returned it 15 yards to the EKU 31-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, TTU quarterback Lee Sweeney found Larry Shipp for a touchdown.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Dunn scored for the second time, capping a 13-play, 51-yard drive that put the Colonels in front 28-10. After attempting six straight passes, Eastern put the ball in Dunn’s hands four straight times to cover the final 13 yards.
Eastern Kentucky turned a pair of Tennessee Tech turnovers into 14 points in the first half. The Colonels out-gained the Golden Eagles 122-38 on the ground in the first half.
Tennessee Tech closed the gap back to 11 points with a score in the closing minutes of the third quarter. Sweeney converted a 4th-and-10 situation with a 37-yard pass to Shipp down the right sideline that moved the Golden Eagles to the EKU two-yard line. On the next play TTU’s Cass Barnes carried it across the goal line to make it a two-possession game.
EKU blocked a punt in the final minute of the third quarter to set the Colonels up at the Tech 23-yard line. Eastern Kentucky converted a 22-yard field goal to extend the advantage to 31-17.
Dunn added his third touchdown of the day when he took it up the middle from nine yards out with 2:14 left in the game.
Shipp’s 40-yard touchdown reception with less than four seconds left on the clock set the final score at 38-24.
The Colonels will play next week in the opening round of the NCAA Division I playoffs. The announcement of the playoff pairings will be made on Sunday. The EKU football team will host a playoff selection show party on Sunday, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the O’Donnell Auditorium in the Student Services Building on the campus of EKU. The actual NCAA FCS playoff selection show will air on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m.
--Senior cornerback Derrick Huff missed today’s game due to an injury to his right foot.
--EKU is now 19-3, including 6-0 in 2007, in games in which Mark Dunn scores a touchdown.
--Freshman Jaren Gooden intercepted the first pass of his collegiate career in the second quarter.
--Before being forced to punt on their opening possession of the second half, the Colonels had scored on their first possession in six of the last seven halves.
--Senior Justin Curry blocked a Tennessee Tech punt attempt in the third quarter which led to an EKU field goal.
--The Colonel defense has forced at least three turnovers in five straight games.
--Eastern Kentucky had a +2 turnover margin today, extending its NCAA best season turnover margin to +23.
--Running back Bobby Washington did not reach the 100-yard plateau for the fourth straight time, but he did surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
--Tennessee Tech wide receiver Larry Ship finished his collegiate career with 195 receptions for 2,950 yards, ranking third and fourth, respectively, on the OVC career charts.