BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Eastern Kentucky led 35-34 until the 6:47 mark of the fourth quarter when Bowling Green scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to edge the Colonels 42-35 on Saturday.
EKU had a chance to tie or win the game in the closing seconds against the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team. The Colonels (1-2) got the ball at their own 32-yard line with three minutes left to play and marched to the BGSU 15 yard line with eight seconds left on the clock. Two passes to the end zone just missed their targets for a last-second touchdown.
LJ Scott kept the drive alive early with a 6-yard run on 4th-and-4 at the Eastern 38. On 3rd-and-13 from the Falcon 44 yard line, Dakota Allen connected with Jaelin Carter down the right sideline for 29 yards to the 15. The Colonels then made their two attempts at the end zone.
Eastern Kentucky finished the game with 389 rushing yards and out-gained Bowling Green (1-2) 498 to 388. As a team, EKU averaged 6.5 yards per rush. Darryl McCleskey Jr. led the team with 168 yards on 19 carries, an average of 8.8 per run. Allen finished with 77 yards and a touchdown run.
BGSU’s Jarrett Doege connected with Quintin Morris in the back of the end zone to push the lead to 42-35 with 6:47 remaining in the game.
EKU got off to a good start when the Colonels scored a pair of rushing touchdowns from three and one yards out to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
That’s when Bowling Green took advantage of some Colonel miscues. Doege connected with Morris for a 24-yard strike with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14. That touchdown came after a fumble on a punt return.
The Falcons got a touchdown run by Andrew Clair from four yards out to give Bowling Green its first lead of the night 21-14 with 6:13 remaining in the first half. That capped off 21 unanswered points.
That lead was short-lived. McCleskey took the first play from scrimmage for 68 yards and his second touchdown of the game to knot the score at 21-21.
Doege threw another touchdown pass when he connected with Deric Phouthavong in the end zone to take a 28-21 lead into the half.
Eastern wasted little time in the second half and tied the game when Alphonso Howard scampered in from seven yards out to make it 28-28 with 10:16 remaining in the third quarter. Bowling Green retook the lead when Doege connected with Phouthayong for their second hook up of the night. The extra-point was unsuccessful.
McCleskey found the end zone for the third time on the night when he ran up the middle untouched on fourth down. Samuel Hayworth’s extra-point kick gave EKU the lead, 35-34, with 1:31 to play in the third.
Doege finished 28-of-39 for 258 yards. He tossed four touchdown passes and had one interception.
Ben Bascom and Steven Crowder each had 11 tackles for Eastern Kentucky.
SEMO up next for Colonels in OVC opener
After playing two straight games on the road, the Colonels will open Ohio Valley Conference play next Saturday at home against Southeast Missouri State University. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky will recognize its 2007 and 2008 OVC Championship teams at the game. All student-athletes, coaches and staff from both teams are invited to take part. Please contact Karl Park at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-622-8941 for more information and to RSVP.
The 2007 OVC Champions finished 9-3 overall and were a perfect 8-0 against league teams. The 2008 OVC Champions went 8-4 overall and 7-1 against conference teams. After dropping its first conference game of the season, Eastern rolled off seven straight wins to capture the title.