RICHMOND, Ky. – Visiting Western Carolina capitalized on four Eastern Kentucky University turnovers to defeat the Colonels in non-conference football action Saturday afternoon at Roy Kidd Stadium, 24-7. The Colonels fall to 5-5 with the loss while the Catamounts snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 2-8.
WCU took a slim 10-7 lead into halftime, but took advantage of two key Eastern Kentucky mistakes in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 24-7. Starting its second drive of the half at its own six-yard line, Eastern quarterback T.J. Pryor fumbled the exchange from center giving the Catamounts possession in the red zone. Western Carolna quarterback Zack Jaynes found Marquel Pittman for a seven-yard touchdown pass on the very next play to put the Catamounts ahead, 17-7.
Three minutes later, the Colonels misplayed a punt return allowing Western Carolina to regain possession at the EKU 21-yard line. Three plays later, Jaynes threw his third touchdown pass, this time a 13-yard strike to Chris Everett, to make the score, 24-7.
Eastern tried to respond on its next drive, but turned the ball over on downs at the Western Carolina 18-yard line. The Colonels faced a 4th-and-one and elected to go for the first down only to see Walker get stuffed for a two yard loss.
Western Carolina piled together a season-high 335 yards of offense and converted 10-of-20 (50 percent) third downs. Meanwhile, EKU was held to 3-of-12 (25 percent) on third downs.
Jaynes paced the Western Carolina offense by going 24-for-34 for 232 passing yards. The sophomore equaled a career high with three touchdown passes. Pittman tallied a season-high nine receptions for 109 yards and two scores.
Pryor finished 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) passing for 174 yards and one interception. Wide receiver Orlandus Harris posted a career-high nine receptions for 88 yards.
The Colonels conclude the 2009 regular season next Saturday at Jacksonville State. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.
--The Colonels need to win their regular season finale next weekend at Jacksonville State to secure a winning record. Eastern Kentucky has not finished with a non-winning record since 1977 (5-5), a span of 31 seasons.
--Eastern Kentucky is now 0-4 this season when the defense does not force a turnover.
--For the first time in seven games, the Colonel special teams did not block a kick (punt, PAT or field goal).