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Murray named Second team All-OVC

Posted on 03 March 2015 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University junior women’s basketball player Shameekia “Polly” Murray has been voted second team All-Ohio Valley Conference, the league office announced on Tuesday.

The transfer from South Georgia Technical College was also voted to the five-person OVC All-Newcomer Team.

Murray exploded onto the scene in her first season at EKU, averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.4 rebounds-per-game. She also shot 46.4 percent (148-of-319) from the field and led the team with 44 steals.

The guard from Claxton, Georgia especially excelled during the OVC season, leading EKU and ranking seventh in the league at 16.1 points-per-game during conference play. She scored 14 points or more in 13 of the Colonels’ 16 OVC games this season. She scored a career-high 22 points twice during the season, once in a loss to Austin Peay on January 3 and once in a win over in-state rival Morehead State on February 21. Her best overall performance, however, came in a win at Murray State on January 22 when she posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Murray also keyed EKU’s defense during conference play, ranking fourth in the OVC at 2.0 steals-per-game.

Murray joined the Colonels after transferring from South Georgia Technical College, where she earned National Junior College Athletic Association Division I second team All-American honors last season.

She joins Tennessee State’s Chelsea Hudson, Jacksonville State’s Destany McLin and Candace Morton, Murray State’s Ke’Shunan James, SIUE’s Tierny Austin and Tennessee Tech’s Samaria Howard on the second team All-OVC.

Murray, James, Howard, SIUE’s Shronda Butts and UT Martin’s Jessy Ward comprise the OVC All-Newcomer Team.

UT Martin’s Kevin McMillan was selected as the OVC Coach of the Year, while UT Martin’s Ashia Jones was voted OVC Player of the Year and Austin Peay’s Tiasha Gray was voted OVC Defensive Player of the Year.

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Walden and Stutz pickup postseason OVC honors

Posted on 03 March 2015 by admin



BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – After leading Murray State to just the fifth undefeated Conference season in Ohio Valley Conference history, Murray State sophomore point guard Cameron Payne was named 2014-15 OVC Player of the Year while his coach Steve Prohm took home OVC Coach of the Year honors in voting by league head coaches and sports information directors. In additional voting Eastern Kentucky senior guard Corey Walden repeated as OVC Defensive Player of the Year while Eastern Illinois guard Cornell Johnston was named OVC Freshman of the Year.

In the now seven-year history of the OVC Defensive Player of the Year Award, Walden is the second player to repeat as winner, joining Morehead State All-American and NBA player Kenneth Faried (who won three-straight from 2009-11). Entering this week Walden ranks second nationally in steals (3.0/game) for an Eastern Kentucky team that is currently first nationally in turnover margin (+7.6/game). Walden also helped his team rank second in the OVC in scoring defense (63.3 points/game allowed) and hold 21 of the team’s 29 opponents to under 70 points this season. During the final week of the regular season he broke into the OVC single-season steals Top 10 (84 – he now ranks ninth) as well as the OVC career steals Top 10 (221 – he ranks eighth); those 221 career steals is also tied for first place in EKU history. He opened the season with a career-high eight swipes against Savannah State and had three other games where he had five or more steals in 2014-15.

Payne becomes the first sophomore to be named OVC Player of the Year since Austin Peay’s Drake Reed took home the award in 2006-07, and the second MSU sophomore to win the award (joining the legendary Popeye Jones in 1989-90). He is the 13th Murray State player to take home the honor and first since Isaiah Canaan won back-to-back awards in 2012 and 2013. After leading the Racers to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) Championship a season ago, Payne was named Preseason OVC Player of the Year heading into this season and backed up those predictions. He enters the postseason ranking 13th nationally in scoring (20.2 points/game), 21st in assists (5.7/game) and 39th in steals (1.97/game). Among OVC players the Memphis native ranks first in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4), second in assists, third in steals, fifth in 3-pointers made/game (2.2) and seventh in free throw shooting (78.9%). Payne has scored 30 or more points in three different games this season (all coming on the road) and scored in double figures in all but one contest. He dished out a season-high nine assists twice and also pulled down 10 rebounds in a victory over Eastern Kentucky. He was named OVC Player of the Week five times during the year but more importantly he helped his team win, as the Racers have reeled off 24 consecutive victories which established a new OVC record for longest winning streak (topping a mark the 2011-12 MSU team set). The Racers also became the first team to go through the OVC season undefeated since 2003-04 and this week jumped into both the USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 24) and the Associated Press Poll (No. 25), becoming the first OVC team to be ranked since the 2011-12 season.

Prohm picked up his second OVC Coach of the Year honor and first since his inaugural season with the team in 2011-12. After taking that club to a 31-2 overall record and Top 10 national ranking, Prohm did it this season by relying on Payne, the sophomore point guard, and a great shooting offense. After starting the season just 2-4 overall, Prohm’s club made some adjustments and have not lost since, reeling off 24-straight victories entering the week; that streak is the second-longest active streak nationally and is the longest in OVC history (breaking a mark of 23 set by the Racers in the 2011-12 season). The team also completed a perfect 16-0 league mark, marking just the fifth time in league history a team had gone through League play undefeated, and also entered the national Top 25 polls this week, becoming the first OVC team to be nationally ranked since the Racers were in 2011-12. During the season Prohm also posted his 100th career victory, becoming the fastest coach in Murray State’s prestigious history to reach that plateau; he enters the postseason with a 101-27 (.789) records in four years at MSU. Overall Prohm is the sixth different Murray State coach to win a pair of OVC Coach of the Year Awards; overall the program has had 10 different coaches take home the league’s top honor a total of 16 times.

Johnston helped the Eastern Illinois team to just its second overall winning season since 2001, as the Panthers made a five-game improvement from last season to finish with 16 overall victories. The Panthers also started Conference play 6-0 and finished with nine overall league victories in the third year under head coach Jay Spoonhour. Along the way the diminutive point guard set the Eastern Illinois freshman record for assists (130 and counting) and he enters the postseason ranked third in the OVC in assists (4.5/game). He has also torched the nets from 3-point range, leading all OVC players with a 52.2 percentage on the season; that number is even better over the final 13 games of the regular season as he connected on 66 percent (31-of-47) over that time period. He scored a season-high 22 points in a victory at Morehead State and was named OVC Freshman of the Week four times and OVC Player of the Week once. He is the fourth different EIU player to be named OVC Freshman of the Year and first since Romain Martin shared the award in 2006-07.

This year’s first and second-team All-OVC squads include 10 players from six OVC schools. Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and UT Martin (the top four seeds in this week’s tournament) each had two selections apiece. The first and second-teams included six seniors, two juniors and two sophomores.

Payne, the OVC Player of the Week, was the top vote getter and earned his second-straight All-OVC first-team selection. He was joined on the All-OVC first-team by two players who were second-team selections a season ago in Belmont junior guard Craig Bradshaw and Murray State senior forward Jarvis Williams. The team also includes the Eastern Kentucky senior guard Corey Walden, the OVC Defensive Player of the Year, and Eastern Kentucky senior forward Eric Stutz.

Bradshaw took over as Belmont’s leading scorer after the graduation of last year’s OVC Player of the Year J.J. Mann. He enters the postseason averaging 17.9 points/game, which ranks third in the OVC and 49th nationally. The junior also ranks 29th nationally in 3-point percentage (41.7%) while ranking second in the OVC in 3-pointers made (2.5/game), eighth in steals (1.6/game) and ninth in assists (3.2/game) among league players. Earlier this season he scored 42 points in a road victory over Ohio, which is the fifth-most points by a Division I player this season; that performance earned him National Player of the Week honors. He was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American for his work in the classroom (3.51 grade point average in public relations).

Williams helped Murray State to the OVC regular season championship by ranking third in the OVC in rebounding (8.3/game), fourth in field goal percentage (57.1%) and sixth in scoring (15.4 points/game) while also netting 10 double-doubles, which was the third-highest total in the league.

Walden and Stutz were a one-two combination for the defending OVC Tournament Champion Colonels, leading the team to first place in the East Division and the No. 2 overall seed for the OVC Tournament. While Walden led the team in scoring and shot 54.1 percent from the field while also being the team’s defensive stopper, Stutz has been one of the most improved players in the league. Entering this season he had career averages around 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds/game but blossomed this season in averaging 15.5 points (5th in the OVC) and 5.8 rebounds (11th in the OVC) per game while hitting 61.7 percent from the field, a percentage that ranks sixth in the nation.

The All-OVC second-team included one repeat selection in Southeast Missouri State senior swingman Jarekious Bradley. He was joined on the team by a pair of UT Martin senior guards in Deville Smith and Marshun Newell, Eastern Illinois junior swingman Trae Anderson and Belmont sophomore forward Evan Bradds.

The OVC All-Newcomer Team is was comprised of first-year players (freshman and transfers) in the league. Included in the selections was Johnston, the OVC Freshman of the Year, as well as Anderson and Smith, who were also second-team selections. The other selections on the team were Tennessee Tech junior center Charles Jackson and UT Martin junior forward Twymond Howard.
2014-15 Men’s Basketball All-OVC Teams and Awards
OVC Player of the Year: Cameron Payne, Murray State
OVC Defensive Player of the Year: Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky
OVC Freshman of the Year: Cornell Johnston, Eastern Illinois
OVC Coach of the Year: Steve Prohm, Murray State

Cameron Payne, Murray State
Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky
Craig Bradshaw, Belmont
Jarvis Williams, Murray State
Eric Stutz, Eastern Kentucky

Evan Bradds, Belmont
Marshun Newell, UT Martin
Jarekious Bradley, Southeast Missouri
Deville Smith, UT Martin
Trae Anderson, Eastern Illinois

Deville Smith, UT Martin
Trae Anderson, Eastern Illinois
Charles Jackson, Tennessee Tech
Cornell Johnston, Eastern Illinois
Twymond Howard, UT Martin

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Walden earns OVC Co-Player of the Week honors

Posted on 02 March 2015 by admin


RICHMOND, Ky. – After scoring a career-high 35 points to help Eastern Kentucky clinch first place in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division and the No. 2 seed in the league tournament senior Corey Walden was chosen as the adidas OVC Co-Player of the Week on Monday.

EKU needed to win three games in six days to claim first place in the OVC East and Walden made sure it happened. The senior guard shot 63 percent from the field and had 11 steals in three wins last week.

After playing a limited number of minutes against Austin Peay while still recovering from a late season ankle injury, Walden put the Colonels on his back the next two games. He finished with a team-best 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals against Jacksonville State. He hit big shot after big shot in a tight game against Tennessee Tech on his way to a career-best 35 points to go along with five steals. Walden had a lay-up, a key rebound and two free throws in the final 25 seconds to secure the victory.

With his 11 steals, he tied the EKU career record and moved onto the OVC top-10 lists for single season steals and career steals.

In three games, the Daytona Beach native averaged 17.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game.

Walden connected on 11 of his 14 attempts from the field against Tennessee Tech and went 13-for-15 at the free throw line.

EKU (19-10, 11-5 OVC) won eight of its final nine regular season games. As the No. 2 seed in the OVC Tournament, the Colonels will play in the semifinals on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET. The game, at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, will air live on ESPNU.

Eastern will face the winner of the quarterfinal contest between the No. 3 seed Belmont and the winner of the No. 6 Eastern Illinois/No. 7 SIU Edwardsville first round game.

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Walden On Mid-Major Player Of The Year Watch List

Posted on 21 January 2015 by admin



BOSTON, Mass. – Eastern Kentucky senior Corey Walden is one of 40 players from across the country chosen to the Lou Henson Award Mid-Season Watch List, CollegeInsider.com announced on Wednesday.

The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the Division I “Mid-Major” Player of the Year. Walden is one of only two Ohio Valley Conference players on the list.

The Daytona Beach native leads the team in scoring (19.1 ppg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (2.7 spg). He has scored in double figures in every game this season and has scored 20 or more points seven times. He set a new career high with 33 points at Southern Utah and then matched that total in a game at Coppin State.

Walden is shooting 56.2 percent from the field this season.

He is the only player in the OVC top-10 in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (8th), assists (9th) and steals (1st).

Walden now needs 39 more steals to break the EKU career record of 221. The 6-foot-2 guard ranks sixth in the nation in steals per game and 26th in field goal percentage.

The finalists for the 2015 Lou Henson Award will be announced in March. The award is named in honor of Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years. When he left the game in 2005 he was sixth all-time in career Division I wins with 779. He is the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State. He is one of only 12 coaches in the history of the game to take two schools to the Final Four.

The 2015 recipient will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 3 in Indianapolis, site of the 2015 men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.

Walden joined EKU’s 1,000 point club during the game at Southern Utah. He is now 16th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,248 points.

As a junior in 2014-15, Walden was chosen as the OVC Defensive Player of the Year and the OVC Tournament MVP.

The Colonels play at Jacksonville State on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.

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Walden Earns Two Player Of The Week Awards

Posted on 12 January 2015 by admin



BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky senior Corey Walden was chosen as the adidas Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Week. Walden was also chosen as the OVC Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com.

The 6-foot-2 guard shot an amazing 62 percent combined in Eastern’s road wins at Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri last week.

He averaged 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals in the two games. The Daytona Beach native scored 33 percent of the team’s points and turned the ball over only three times in 78 minutes on the court.

Walden finished with 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals at UT Martin. Two nights later he scored 23 points with five rebounds at Southeast Missouri.

He made 8-of-11 from the field against the Skyhawks and went 10-for-10 at the stripe at SEMO. He missed only one free throw in the two games, going 15-of-16 at the stripe for 94 percent.

The Colonels will face Eastern Illinois (10-6, 4-0 OVC) at home on Thursday. Tip-off in McBrayer Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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Richardson named OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week

Posted on 05 January 2015 by admin



Denzel Richardson a junior guard from Baltimore, Md. was named OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week.  Richardson averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists/game while hitting 40 percent (6-of-15) from the field, 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe in a pair of non-conference victories. At Coppin State the transfer from Pensacola State College made just two field goals but that included a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to push the Colonels to the 66-63 victory in his hometown. He finished the week with 18 points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist against South Carolina State.

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Walden Named OVC Co-Player Of The Week

Posted on 23 December 2014 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Corey Walden was chosen as the Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Colonels to a 28-point victory at No. 18 Miami on Friday.
Playing in his home state, the senior led Eastern (6-4) with a game-high 18 points. The Daytona Beach native also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
He hit two long 3-pointers from the “U” logo in the final five minutes to squelch any Miami comeback attempt.
Earlier in the week, Walden had 13 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists against East Tennessee.
In both games combined, Walden shot 55 percent (12-of-22) from the field and made 4-of-9 from three-point range. He also averaged three steals and 2.5 assists per game.
The Colonels finish their two-game road trip to South Florida tonight at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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Muff On Allstate Good Works Nomination List

Posted on 09 December 2014 by admin


RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky senior Deverin Muff is a nominee for the 2015 Allstate Good Works Team®, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate Insurance Company announced last week.

This prestigious community service award recognizes a distinguished group of student-athletes who have demonstrated a commitment to enriching the lives of others and contributing to the greater good in their communities. The NABC Allstate Good Works Team® will be announced in February.

Muff, a native of Strongsville, Ohio, has played in six of EKU’s seven games this season and started on Sunday at No. 1 Kentucky. He’s second on the team with four blocks. Muff had two points, a season-high five rebounds and a steal against the top-ranked Wildcats.

Muff has participated in a number of community service events, including Shriners Hospital field day (four years), Colonel Basketball Reading Program (four years), Special Olympics, Kids’ Fest and Day of Hope (two years helping bring in toiletries). Muff participates in Athletes in Action, visiting students at Kentucky State University, the University of Kentucky and Xenia, Ohio.

Muff completed his undergraduate degree in public relations in May 2014 and is now working on a graduate degree in sport administration. In addition to playing Division I collegiate basketball and earning his degree, Deverin has written articles for two newspapers, the EKU Progress and the Richmond Register.

For the third year, the Allstate NABC Good Works Teams® helps spotlight the off-the-court good works and service to others that often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. From creating organizations benefitting at-risk youth to volunteering overseas to help impoverished communities, there are countless remarkable stories of service among this year’s group of nominees. As full-time students and athletes, these players choose to dedicate their limited free time to improving the lives of those around them.

“The accomplishments of student-athletes extend far beyond successes achieved on the court, and Allstate is proud to recognize this exceptional group of young men and women for the positive impact they are making in their communities,” said Pam Hollander, vice president of marketing for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2015 NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams® selection panels. “Their stories of powerful and selfless acts, shared by SIDs and coaches across the nation, represent the best of collegiate student-athletes and serve as an inspiration to us all.”

From the 158 NABC nominees, a distinguished voting panel will select two 10-member teams comprised of five student-athletes from the NCAA Division I level and five student-athletes from NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA. Former Duke University student-athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill will headline the Allstate NABC Good Works Team® voting panel.

Members of the Allstate NABC Good Works Team® will be invited by Allstate to the 2015 NABC Convention and 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, where they will participate in a community project in the city. More information about the Allstate NABC Good Works Team® is available at www.nabc.org.

The Colonels will play at IUPUI on Saturday. Tip-off in Indianapolis is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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Watkins semifinalist for William V. Campbell Trophy

Posted on 26 September 2014 by admin


Colonels running back Caleb Watkins is among the 167 semifinalists for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments® and announced by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF).

Watkins was one of three OVC selections. The others were Austin Peay punter Ben Campbell and Jacksonville State offensive lineman Max Holcombe. The trio are three of just 37 student-athletes selected from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation, and up to 16 of the candidates will be named recipients of a prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, also presented by Fidelity Investments. Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program awards $18,000 scholarships that can be used for the honorees’ postgraduate educations. This year’s recipients will be announced Oct. 30, and one will be declared the winner of the Campbell Trophy Dec. 9 at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner.

Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient’s grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $10.7 million.

“These 167 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

“The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on this tremendous honor,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, which show that football players can balance between academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates.”

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 30. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and hosted at the NYAC, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. Each member of the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 9 during the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.

Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments, and it has recognized 787 outstanding individuals since its inception. The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program’s prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks. Earlier this month, Fidelity Investments became the first presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy.

In 2011, the NFF and Fidelity launched a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the 55-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.

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Mobley Named OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week

Posted on 22 September 2014 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Running back Dy’Shawn Mobley was named the adidas OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week following his performance in the Eastern Kentucky University football team’s 49-24 win at UT Martin Saturday afternoon.

Mobley earned OVC Newcomer of the Week honors for the second-straight week after rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns against the Skyhawks. The junior amassed that total on just 11 carries, averaging 16.6 yards per carry. Mobley scored on touchdown runs of 68, 14 and a career-best 75 yards. The 75-yard scoring burst came late in the third quarter and iced the game for the Colonels.

The native of Powell, Tennessee, ranks fourth nationally in rushing yards per carry (8.64), 11th in total rushing yards (475) and 23rd in rushing touchdowns (four).

The other OVC weekly award winners were Southeast Missouri quarterback Kyle Snyder and wide receiver Paul McRoberts (Co-Offensive), Tennessee State defensive back Ronnie Vinson (Defensive), Eastern Illinois defensive back Antoine Johnson (Specialist) and Eastern Illinois quarterback Jalen Whitlow (Co-Newcomer).

Eastern Kentucky, off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1992, has a week off before returning to the field at Austin Peay on Saturday, Oct. 4.

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