Colonels Score 25 Unanswered Points To Stun Central Arkansas

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CONWAY, Ark. – The Eastern Kentucky football team erased a 35-13 deficit by scoring 25 points in the final 19 minutes to beat Central Arkansas, 38-35, on Saturday night.

EKU held the Bears to just one touchdown in the second half, while the Colonels scored on their first five drives of the half before running out the clock on their sixth possession. Parker McKinney went 24-of-40 for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. McKinney also led the EKU ground attack with 65 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Matt Wilcox Jr. caught a game-high 11 passes for 67 yards. Matthew Jackson led all defenders with 13 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack, while breaking up two passes. Kyle Bailey totaled 10 tackles in the win. The Colonel defense tallied 8.0 tackles for loss on the night. 

Both defenses controlled the first quarter as the teams combined for six punts in the opening period. Central Arkansas managed the quarter’s only score with a six-yard touchdown run. 

The Bears doubled their lead with a 70-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. EKU got on the scoreboard at the 11:52 mark of the second quarter when Braedon Sloan took his first career reception from Parker McKinney and scampered 24 yards to the end zone. UCA responded with a three-yard rushing score to make the score 21-7 with 8:02 left in the half. Eastern Kentucky answered with a 10-play drive that ended on a 41-yard field goal from Patrick Nations. Central Arkansas used a quarterback sneak with 14 seconds remaining in the half to take a 28-10 lead into the locker room.  

Nations connected on a 47-yard field goal on EKU’s opening drive of the second half to cut the deficit to 28-13, but the Bears found the end zone on their next drive to go back up by three scores. Nations added his third field goal, this one from 25 yards, with 3:11 to go in the third quarter. Kmare Carey forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and McKinney found Jayden Higgins just four plays later for a five-yard touchdown. EKU added the two-point conversion to make the score 35-24 with 1:24 left in the period. 

The Colonel defense forced a three-and-out to open the fourth quarter and Eastern Kentucky marched 62 yards in seven plays as Kyeandre Magloire punched it in from four yards out to pull within five, 35-30, with 13:08 to go. EKU’s defense forced another Bear punt and the Colonel offense picked up right where it left off, covering 87 yards in seven plays. McKinney dashed free for a 40-yard touchdown to give Eastern Kentucky its first lead of the night, 38-35, with 7:39 to play.

Central Arkansas drove to the EKU 25-yard line, but had its game-tying field-goal attempt blocked with 2:14 remaining. The Colonels proceeded to run out the clock to seal the comeback victory.

EKU is off next weekend before hosting Lamar on Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. at Roy Kidd Stadium.