RICHMOND, Ky. – Senior kicker Andrew Lloyd’s 29-yard field goal in overtime completed Eastern Kentucky University’s furious comeback to beat Eastern Illinois, 36-33, Saturday night at Roy Kidd Stadium.
Down 21 points midway through the third quarter, 16th-ranked EKU (6-0, 3-0 OVC) outscored Eastern Illinois (1-5, 1-1 OVC), 31-7 the rest of the way, snapping the Panthers’ 13-game Ohio Valley Conference winning streak.
EKU took its first lead of the game with 4:46 remaining when junior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley barreled in from two yards out to make the score, 33-26.
However, the visiting Panthers fought back and tied the game at 33 with a minute left, converting on a 4th-and-2 from the two-yard line to force overtime. EIU quarterback Jalen Whitlow connected with Adam Drake to tie the game.
The Eastern Kentucky defense and special teams were strong in the second half comeback, giving the Colonel offense plenty of opportunities to score. The most important one came in overtime.
Redshirt sophomore defensive back Kiante Northington recovered an Eastern Illinois fumble on its second play of overtime, setting up two Mobley runs and Lloyd’s game-winner.
A touchdown run by senior quarterback Jared McClain with seven minutes to go in the third quarter started the comeback bid. The short drive lasted six plays and totaled 78 yards, but was completed in only 90 seconds. That drive cut the Panther lead to 26-12.
The Colonel defense forced and recovered a Whitlow fumble at the end of the third quarter sparking a 12-play, 72 yard drive that ended with a Devin Borders touchdown catch on the right side of the end zone that cut the deficit to seven, 26-19.
EKU took advantage of another break in the fourth quarter. Following a quick three-and-out by the Colonels, Eastern Illinois muffed the ensuing punt giving EKU the ball deep in Eastern Illinois territory. The Colonels scored three plays later on Mobley’s first score to even the score at 26-26.
Eastern Illinois converted just 1-of-8 third down attempts in the second half. The Panthers reached the red zone eight times, but only scored three touchdowns and four field goals on those drives.
Mobley led the EKU offense with 118 yards rushing on 30 carries. The junior scored twice on the ground and also caught five passes for 63 yards. McClain played the majority of the game at quarterback, completing 17-of-29 passes for 198 yards and a score.
For EIU, Whitlow threw for 247 yards on 26-of-40 attempts, including two touchdown passes. Whitlow also ran the ball 14 times for 88 yards. Running back Shepard Little added 19 carries for 122 yards while wide receiver Adam Drake notched 13 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
The Colonels look to keep their perfect record intact next Saturday, Oct. 18 at Tennessee Tech. Kickoff in Cookeville is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
–Andrew Lloyd’s overtime game-winning field goal was his eighth field goal of the season, and also his first-ever game-winning kick at any level.
–Eastern Kentucky’s Devin Borders blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. He has now blocked a punt and three field goals this season.
–Redshirt sophomore Jon Floyd recovered an Eastern Illinois fumble off a punt return midway through the fourth quarter, leading to the game-tying touchdown.
–Eastern Kentucky leads the all-time series with Eastern Illinois, 13-9. The Panthers had won the previous two meetings by a combined score of 66-14.
–This was EKU’s first overtime win since defeating Austin Peay on Sept. 27, 2008.