The Colonels open the 2019 season with high expectations ending the season on a 4 game winning streak. Colonels are ranked in the top 25 in many preseason polls and are picked to finish 3rd in the Ohio Valley Conference. 18 starters return from last seasons team that won 7 games. 8 starters on both offense and defense and 2 on special teams. Of the final 61 players that were listed on the roster last season 47 return.
A new quarterback will be under center Thursday night as red-shirt junior Conor Blount. Blount played at Oregon State last season starting 6 of the first 7 games. Blount passed for 1117 yards and 7 TDs, he started at Ohio State last year and played well going 12-19 with 169 yards and 2 touchdowns and no picks. Daryl McCleskey JR will once again be the featured tailback coming off a solid junior season. He was a 3rd team All-OVC player and rushed for 651 yards at an average of 4.5 yards. His 651 yards were good for 5th best in the Valley.
On the defensive side of the ball Aaron Patrick will anchor a defense that finished 2nd in the conference in total defense and points allowed. Patrick is a preseason All American and on the Buck Buchanan Award Watch list for defensive player of the year. Aaron had 7.5 sacks last year and is now in the top 5 all time in Colonel history with 17.5 career sacks. Leodis Moore returns with his 5 interceptions that led the OVC and was 9th best in the country.
The opponent Valparaiso comes in off a 2-9 season but return their top two offensive players. QB Chris Duncan passed for 1781 yards and 14 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. Kyle Cartales is the leading rusher with 419 yards and 4 TDs. They return 6 starters on the offensive side of the ball and 5 on the defensive side.
EKU and Valpo have met 4 times with EKU winning 3 including the last meeting back on September 3, 2015.
Colonels won their 600th career game last season and now stand at 602-386-38 in 105 years of football. At Roy Kidd Stadium EKU has won 224 games while losing 57.
Kickoff is set for 7 Thursday night at Roy Kidd Stadium with our coverage beginning on 100.7 FM at 5:30 with the EKU tailgate show. Join Michael Watkins and Donald Foster as they get you ready for the game live from the Alumni Coliseum Colonel Club lot. At 6:30 the long time voice of Colonel athletics takes over and bring you the game at 7. You can listen to the game locally on The Coyote 100.7 FM.