YPSILANTI, Mich. – September 2, 2022 – Content from ekusports.com
EKU racked up 492 yards of offense and trailed by just four at halftime against Eastern Michigan before falling, 42-34 on Friday night at Rynearson Stadium.
Playing without head coach Walt Wells, the Colonels scored 17 of the game’s final 24 points, pulling within one score twice in the final eight minutes of play.
After a scoreless first quarter, EKU took the first lead of the night as Patrick Nations converted a 33-yard field goal. Eastern Michigan countered with a pair of touchdowns to build a 14-3 late in the second quarter, but the Colonels cut into the deficit when Jaden Smith took a pass from Parker McKinney and eluded a defender to race 19 yards for a touchdown. EMU threatened to add to its lead before halftime, but Josh Hayes picked off a deep pass down the Eagle sideline to keep the score 14-10.
Eastern Michigan extended its lead to 28-10 in the third quarter with touchdowns on consecutive possessions. EKU found an answer in the closing minutes of the quarter when McKinney called his own number on a read option and scampered 23 yards to trim the deficit to 28-17.
The Eagles pushed their lead to 35-17 early in the fourth quarter, but EKU stayed within striking distance as Nations drilled a 40-yarder on the ensuing Colonel drive. On EMU’s next offensive snap, Nic Cheeley punched the ball loose and TK McLendon Jr. pounced on it to give the Colonels possession in Eagle territory. EKU capitalized as McKinney floated a 14-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Allen to make the score 35-27 with 7:13 left to play.
EMU made the score 42-27 on a touchdown pass with 3:22 remaining, but the Colonels marched 65 yards on 11 plays as McKinney hit Allen again for a nine-yard score to make it a 42-34 game with 1:11 on the clock. Eastern Michigan recovered the onside kick and ran out to clock to escape with an eight-point win.
McKinney went 35-of-51 through the air for 351 yards and three touchdowns while adding 49 yards and a score on the ground. Allen set career highs with nine catches for 118 yards and tied his career-best with two receiving touchdowns. Smith caught five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, while Jyran Mitchell added 62 yards on four catches.
The Colonels averaged five yards per carry on the ground, led by 49 yards each from McKinney and Braedon Sloan. Kyeandre Magloire rushed eight times for 43 yards.
John Blunt Jr. led the defense with seven solo tackles and broke up two passes. Matthew Jackson, Eli Hairston, and Blunt Jr. each recorded sacks on the night. Cheeley finished with seven total tackles. EKU held the Eagles to just eight yards rushing in the first half.
EKU faces its second MAC opponent of the season next week when the Colonels visit Bowling Green on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 4:00 p.m.