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Colonels Primed For Season Opener Saturday At Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, Ohio. – August 30, 2023

EKU football begins its much anticipated 2023 season on Saturday, September 2nd, when the Colonels travel north to face Cincinnati.

The game will be aired live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Nippert Stadium. Noah Reed will handle play-by-play duties with Ryan Leaf serving as the analyst and Shane Sparks as the sideline reporter.

A live radio broadcast will also be available in the Richmond area on WCYO 100.7 FM, Greg Stotelmyer and Jim Tirey will be on call.

–  Cincinnati leads the all-time series, 2-0. The two teams met in 2006 and 2008 with both games taking place at Cincinnati. 

–  The Colonels are seeking their eighth victory over an FBS opponent.

–  EKU’s last game in the state of Ohio came on Sept. 10, 2022, when the Colonels knocked off FBS foe Bowling Green, 59-57, in seven overtimes. 

–  The Colonels are 54-50-6 all-time in season openers, with victories in three of their last five openers. 

–  EKU is in its first season as a member of the United Athletic Conference. The conference features the Colonels, Abilene Christian, Austin Peay, Central Arkansas, North Alabama, Southern Utah, Stephen F. Austin, Tarleton State, and Utah Tech.

–  EKU was picked to finish first in the preseason UAC coaches poll. 

–  The Colonels are coming off a 2022 season that saw them claim their first conference title since 2011 and advance to the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the first time since 2014.

–  Quarterback Parker McKinney is a Third-Team Stats Perform FCS Preseason All-American, a Phil Steele Third-Team Preseason All-American, a Bluebloods Third-Team Preseason All-American, the UAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, the Phil Steele UAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and a member of the preseason Walter Payton Award watchlist.

–  EKU placed five players players on the Preseason All-UAC team. The Colonels selected were Payton Collins (offensive line), Josiah Ezirim (offensive line), Ryan Jackson (defensive line), Parker McKinney (quarterback), and Franky West Jr. (defensive back).

–  McKinney, Ezirim, West, and running back Braedon Sloan each earned preseason All-American accolades. 

–  The Colonels are facing their seventh FBS opponent in four seasons. EKU has played at least one FBS team every year since 2000.

–  The Bearcats finished 9-4 in 2022, ending the season on December 17th with a 24-7 loss to Louisville in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl

–  Cincinnati is in its first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference, making the Bearcats the third Big 12 team to ever face EKU (Kansas State, 2011; West Virginia, 2020).

–  Mason Fletcher (punter) and Dontay Corleone (defensive lineman) were named to the Sporting News Preseason All-America Second Team. Fletcher averaged 46.2 yards per punt with 14 punts of at least 50 yards in 2022, while Corleone totaled 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles.

–  Jowon Briggs (defensive lineman) had 60 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks last season and was named to the All-AAC First Team.

–  Cincinnati ranked ninth in the nation last season in passing yards allowed per game, surrendering just 164.0 per contest.

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