RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University trailed Western Kentucky by only three points at halftime, but the Hilltoppers (1-1) shutout the Colonels (0-2) 21-0 in the second half for a 37-13 win in the Battle of the Bluegrass on Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium. Senior quarterback Allan Holland threw for 228 yards and ran for a score. WKU totaled 248 yards on the ground, led by Tyrell Hayden’s 98 yards.
EKU was limited to 27 net rushing yards. Holland completed 24 of 41 passes. Stephen Sizemore caught eight balls for 67 yards.
Western Kentucky took the opening kick and drove 81 yards in 18 plays for an early 7-0 lead. Marell Booker found the end zone from four yards out to cap the drive.
The Colonels answered by moving the ball deep into WKU territory. Cody Watts caught a nine-yard pass from Holland to move the ball to the 22-yard line, but a personal foul backed EKU up. Eastern settled for a career-long 46-yard field goal by Taylor Long that cut the deficit to 7-3 with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
Western Kentucky used its ground game to manufacture a 13-play, 68-yard scoring drive on its next possession. The Hilltoppers covered 43 yards on the ground and kept it on the ground for the final nine plays of the drive. Hayden finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run to give WKU a 13-3 advantage with 13:53 before halftime.
The Colonels refused to be the first team to punt. EKU answered Western’s ground game with an air show. After an incomplete pass and a rush for one yard, Holland completed three straight passes to cover the final 66 yards. He opened with a big third down completion for 37 yards to Stephon Fuqua. Sizemore hauled in back-to-back passes, the final for 16 yards and a touchdown. Long tacked on the point-after for a 13-10 score with 11:35 remaining in the second quarter.
The two teams exchanged field goals to keep it at a three-point game, 16-13, at halftime. Western Kentucky became the first team to fail to score when the Colonels negated a kickoff return to midfield by holding the Hilltoppers on downs with 1:39 left in the first half.
WKU mixed up the pass and run to generate a 10-play, 74-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter. David Wolke completed passes of 11, 12 and 17 yards. Hayden and Derrius Brooks picked up gains on the ground of 13 and 17 respectively. Brooks’ 17-yard touchdown run gave the Hilltoppers a 23-13 advantage.
A fumble by the Colonels on the ensuing kickoff gave the ball back to Western Kentucky at the EKU 20-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Wolke found Tristan Jones from two yards out to extend the Hilltopper lead to 30-13.
WKU tacked on a touchdown in the final minute to set the final score at 37-13.
Next up for the Colonels is a home game against Morehead State on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
--Eastern Kentucky wore throwback helmets today against WKU. The helmets matched the style of the 1969 Colonels.
--Senior Taylor Long’s 46-yard field goal in the first quarter was the longest of his career.
--Western Kentucky sophomore quarterback K.J. Black left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury.
--In the first half, senior quarterback Allan Holland moved into Eastern’s career top-10 passing list.
--A week after setting a new career high with six receptions against Cincinnati, senior Stephen Sizemore set a new personal-best with eight catches against Western Kentucky.