McKinney Throws For 322 Yards and Three Touchdowns
ST. GEORGE, Utah – October 28, 2023
After trailing by three points at the end of the first quarter and two at halftime, the Eastern Kentucky University football team outlasted Utah Tech by a score of 34-30 on Saturday night at Greater Zion Stadium.
The Colonels were slow out of the gate as UTU settled for a 55-yard field goal after 9-play, 42-yard drive to open the game. The score remained 3-0 after the first 15 minutes of play.
EKU opened its scoring with a Joshua Carter 9-yard touchdown run after driving the ball 75 yards to take the lead 7-3. The touchdown marked his fourth this season, the most during his time in Richmond. The Trailblazers took a five-minute drive following the play and again settled for a field goal to bring the score to one.
Near halftime, quarterback Parker McKinney widened the offense with a 40-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Brown to double the score. Brown’s 40-yard reception was his second highest of his career.
Despite the added effort, Utah Tech found two scores in the final 3:49 before the half to take a 16-14 lead into the locker room.
Out of halftime, EKU’s offense continued to be on top as McKinney threw two touchdown passes at the 13:19 and 9:11 marks in the third quarter. At the 13:19 mark, McKinney found wide out Mo Edwards Jr. for 69 yards, the longest reception of his career. EKU’s Jaden Smith caught McKinney’s other pass to extend the lead to 28-16.
An 8-play, 75-yard Utah Tech drive followed the Colonels second touchdown as the Trailblazers’ quarterback Beau Sparks completed his first and only touchdown pass of the game to bring the score to a one-possession game at 28-23. EKU kicker Patrick Nations hit his 11th field goal of the season to put the Colonels over 30 points.
Just six second into the fourth quarter Utah Tech found the endzone to again bring their deficit to one point. In EKU’s next possession, Nations hit his second field goal of the game to push the lead to four with eight minutes remaining.
A three-and-out and two failed fourth down conversion attempts ended the final eight minutes of regulation without a score to end the game 34-30 and EKU’s third consecutive win in United Athletic Conference play. The Colonels 3-0 mark in UAC play moves the team tied for first in the league with Austin Peay, who comes to Richmond next Saturday.
McKinney ended the game going 22-of-34 for 322 yards and three touchdowns. His 322 passing yards were his second-most this season and three touchdown passes tied his season high.
For the fourth straight game, linebacker Logan Blake led the team with seven tackles to bump his total to 96 on the season, which ranks first in the conference and third in NCAA FCS football.
Also, on the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Mike Smith Jr. recorded five tackles and had a season-high four pass breakups. Despite 11 total pass breakups by EKU against Utah Tech, the team failed to record an interception for the first time since Sept. 23 against No. 16 SEMO at home.
EKU returns to Richmond to prep for a first-place UAC battle against long-time rival Austin Peay on Saturday, Nov. 4 at CG Bank Field at Roy Kidd Stadium, presented by Coca-Cola. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. kickoff, fans can purchase tickets starting at just $10 on the Colonels’ website here.