It was Eastern’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 23 Tennessee State, 44-0, on Nov. 2, 2013 in Richmond.
RICHMOND, Ky. – Dakota Allen found Matt Wilcox Jr. in the left corner of the end zone from 21 yards away with six seconds left in the game to give Eastern Kentucky a 31-28 victory over No. 11 Central Arkansas on Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium.
It was Eastern’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 23 Tennessee State, 44-0, on Nov. 2, 2013 in Richmond. The Colonels’ last victory over a non-conference ranked team was on Sept. 6, 2003 when EKU beat No. 11 Appalachian State, 35-7, at Roy Kidd Stadium.
Quarterback Dakota Allen, who came on to play late in the second quarter, led the Colonels (2-4) on an 8-play, 77-yard game winning scoring drive with just 1:21 left in the game.
On 3rd-and-10 from the EKU 23 yard line, Allen gained nine yards on the ground but a personal foul penalty on UCA added 15 more and got Eastern to near midfield. Facing a 4th-and-1 at the UCA 44 yard line, Allen found Jacquez Jones over the middle for eight. Another penalty on the Bears, this time a roughing the passer call, moved Eastern to the 21 yard line. On the next play, Allen found Wilcox in the end zone for six and the win.
The Colonels will have a week off before hosting Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 7 at Roy Kidd Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will air live on ESPN3.
Allen finished the night 9-for-14 for 85 yards and gained a team-best 59 yards on the ground. He had the one touchdown pass and did not throw an interception. Wilcox caught eight passes for 81 yards. Jones had six catches for 136 yards. Matthew Jackson contributed a game-best 11 tackles for the Colonels.
EKU churned out 460 yards of offense, with 301 coming through the air. Central Arkansas (3-4) was held to 99 yards rushing.
The Colonels went on top first when Parker McKinney found tight end Malik Owens from seven yards out with 13:28 left in the second quarter. That scoring drive began when Joseph Sayles intercepted a Central Arkansas pass in the end zone and returned it to the 14 yard line with 3:11 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bears answered with on their next possession with a game-tying 11-yard pass from Breylin Smith to Tyler Hudson.
A 19-yard touchdown toss from McKinney to tight end Ethan Bradds with 3:01 left in the first half pushed EKU back in front. Alexander Woznick added a 37-yard field goal with three seconds remaining before the break to send the home team to the locker room ahead 17-7.
McKinney, who did not play in the second half, finished 15-for-20 for 216 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and did not have an interception. He also gained 36 yards on the ground.
With its first possession of the second half, Central Arkansas drove 45 yards on seven plays and scored on a 1-yard rush by Kierre Crossley. The extra-point made it a 3-point game with 9:59 on the clock in the third quarter.
Leading by three, Eastern Kentucky took over at the seven yard line with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter. Allen covered 40 yards on the ground and 31 through the air on the drive. On 3rd-and-8 at the EKU 39, he rushed for 10 yards and a first down. A 14-yard completion to Keyion Dixon took the ball to the UCA 33. Three plays later Wilcox caught a 9-yard pass to the seven yard line. Allen then took it to the house from seven yards out. The extra-point made it 24-14 with 12:15 left in the game.
UCA cut it to three on a four yard pass from Smith to Lujuan Winningham with 4:35 to play. The Bears went on top when Smith carried it in from one yard out with 1:21 on the clock.
Smith went 30-of-45 for 320 yards and tossed two touchdown passes for Central Arkansas. Crossley had 69 yards on 15 carries.