RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University’s football team intercepted five passes and held off a late rally by #18 Jacksonville State in a 38-35 win Saturday night at Roy Kidd Stadium. The Colonels (4-3, 3-1 OVC) handed the Gamecocks (4-2, 2-1 OVC) their first conference loss of the season.
Senior Brandon Gathof intercepted two passes for EKU which raised his career total to 11. In addition to picking off five passes, the EKU defense held Jacksonville State to 64 net rushing yards. The Gamecocks entered the game averaging 212 yards per game on the ground.
With JSU driving for the tying, or go-ahead score with 2:12 left in the game, sophomore Jordan Dalrymple intercepted Perrilloux at the EKU 31-yard line and returned it 20 yards into Gamecock territory. Junior Kelvin Turner’s ensuing 34-yard run allowed the Colonels to run out the clock.
Senior quarterback Allan Holland went 19-of-27 for 242 yards through the air. He tossed one touchdown pass, an 11-yard completion to fellow senior Stephen Sizemore in the second quarter. Junior C.J. Walker ran for 52 yards on nine carries and scored twice. Sophomore Shannon Davis caught five passes for 116 yards.
Ryan Perrilloux, a transfer from LSU, went 21-of-41 for 304 yards passing, but tossed five interceptions. He also led JSU with 39 yards on the ground. The junior scored twice on the ground and threw one touchdown pass. Maurice Dupree caught seven passes, including one for a touchdown, for 161 yards.
After the Colonels were forced to punt on the opening possession of the game, the EKU defense forced Jacksonville State into a 3rd-and-14 on its first drive. However, Perrilloux completed a 59-yard pass to Dupree in the end zone for the first score of the game.
Eastern Kentucky immediately had an answer. On the first play of the next drive, Holland found senior Stephon Fuqua for 52 yards to the JSU 23-yard line. Sophomore Aaron Bradley polished off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
The Gamecocks had a first down at midfield to start the second quarter. On 3rd-and-1 at the EKU 40, the Colonel defense stopped Calvin Middleton for no gain. JSU chose not to punt, and the Colonel defense responded on 4th-and-1, stopping Alphonso Freeney for no gain.
The Colonel offense thanked their defensive teammates by adding seven points to the scoreboard. Sophomore Cody Watts completed a pair of passes to pick up a first down in Jacksonville State territory. Holland then returned to quarterback and found Davis for 40 yards to the JSU one-yard line. On the next play, Walker took it up the middle for six. The point-after put the home team on top 14-7 with 10:10 remaining before halftime.
The Gamecocks used a T.J. Heath 41-yard interception return to set up the tying score. On the second play Middleton carried it in from a yard out and following the extra point, the game was tied 14-14 with 7:19 to play in the second quarter.
Holland engineered another scoring drive to answer the JSU score. The senior picked up nine yards on the ground and then hit Davis for an eight-yard gainer. Holland then found Sizemore from 11 yards out for six. With 5:17 left in the first half, EKU led 21-14.
The touchdown reception was a career-first for the senior Sizemore.
Gathof ensured Eastern would keep the lead at intermission by intercepting Perrilloux in the end zone to halt a Gamecock drive.
A second Perrilloux first half interception gave Eastern Kentucky the football at the JSU 29-yard line with less than one second left in the second quarter. Senior Taylor Long came on and converted a 46-yard field goal to send the Colonels to the locker room with a 24-14 lead. Senior Zach Denton picked off the pass and returned it 47 yards to set up the last-second field goal.
Jacksonville State totaled only 12 yards on the ground in the first half.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Colonels picked off Perrilloux for the third time. On the third play of the Gamecock’s drive, junior Andre Evans stepped in front of the pass near the right sideline and returned it 22 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the JSU 30.
On 3rd-and-12, Holland, from the shotgun formation, handed the ball off to Walker. The junior found the left sideline and scampered 19 yards to pay dirt. The extra point gave Eastern Kentucky a 31-14 advantage.
Gathof intercepted his second pass of the game to end JSU’s next drive. The pick marked the fourth straight Gamecock possession that ended with an interception.
Jacksonville State cut the deficit to 10 point with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter. Perrilloux completed a 13-yard pass on 4th-and-10 at the EKU 34-yard line. Perrilloux then covered the final 21 yards with a pair of runs. The first for 12 yards and then a nine-yard touchdown run.
The Gamecocks closed the gap to three, 31-28, with 9:41 left in the game. After forcing EKU to punt from its own end zone, Dupree returned the kick 27 yards to the Eastern eight. On the first play, Brandon George found his way to the end zone along the right sideline.
The Colonels answered the Jacksonville State momentum. On 3rd-and-9 from the JSU 37, Davis laid out for a Holland pass over the middle to the one-yard line. Holland pushed the ball across the line on the next play and an extra point made it 38-28 with 7:13 remaining in the game. Davis also had a 22-yard reception earlier in the drive.
Jacksonville State kept the pressure on with a 10-play, 60-yard drive that ended in a Perrilloux four-yard rushing touchdown.
After a bye week, the Colonels will be back in action for Homecoming on Oct. 25 against Eastern Illinois. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is set for 3 p.m.
--Eastern Kentucky has forced at least three turnovers in four of the last five games.
--With the win, EKU went over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
--Eastern’s 38 points set a season-high.
--With 242 yards passing, senior Allan Holland raised his career total to 3,865 and moved into fourth place on the school’s all-time career passing yards list.
--Taylor Long needs six more field goals to tie Dale Dawson’s school record for field goals made (49). The senior now needs two more PATs to tie David Flores’ school mark of 126 career PATs.
--Allan Holland’s 52-yard pass to Stephon Fuqua in the first quarter was the second longest play of the year for the Colonels. Holland’s 61-yard pass to Cody Watts in the season-opener at Cincinnati is the longest play of the season.
--Aaron Bradley’s first quarter touchdown run was his third rushing score of the season.
--Stephen Sizemore’s second quarter touchdown reception was the first of his career.
--Zach Denton’s interception just seconds before halftime was his second pick of the season.
--Allan Holland’s second quarter touchdown toss ended a streak of two straight games without a scoring pass.
--Taylor Long’s second quarter field goal miss from 49 yards out snapped a streak of 13 straight field goals made dating back to the season-opener against Cincinnati.
--Taylor Long’s 46-yard field goal with less than a second remaining in the first half tied for the longest of his career.
--The interception by Andre Evans early in the third quarter was the second of the season for the junior.
--Jordan Dalrymple’s fourth quarter interception was the first of his career.
--C.J. Walker’s two rushing touchdowns (second and third quarter) raised his season total to three.