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EKU Downs Tarleton in 2OT Thriller

photo by Danny Pendleton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Sloan Has Career Day, Colonels Move to 2-0 Inside UAC Play

RICHMOND – October 14, 2023

Following bye week and a win at North Alabama, the Eastern Kentucky University football team defeated Tarleton State by a score of 41-35 in double overtime to secure its second straight win to open United Athletic Conference play on Saturday night at CG Bank Field at Roy Kidd Stadium.
With the win, EKU (3-3, 2-0 UAC) has won four consecutive Homecoming games dating back to 2019.
Tarleton State (4-3, 1-2 UAC) pushed its fast-paced offense right off the bat with an 11 play, 75-yard drive resulting in a Victor Gabalis to Benjamin Omayebu 2-yard touchdown reception, making it 7-0 Texans just over four minutes into the game.
EKU’s Joshua Carter responded with a 48-yard touchdown run with 4:41 to play in the first quarter tying the game at seven all. 
Texans running back Kayvon Britten continued their offensive push with a 4-yard touchdown run on the very next drive, making it 14-7 Tarleton with 2:23 to play in the 1st. 
Parker McKinney broke free and grabbed 22 yards of his own before Braedon Sloan punched in the 11th touchdown of his career, knotting things up at 14 with 11:19 to play in the second quarter. 
Gabalis connected with wide receiver Darius Cooper for a 27-yard touchdown pass & run, extending the Texans lead back to seven at 21-14 with 8:38 to go in the 2nd drawing both teams into an offensive shootout.
Sloan paced past Texan defenders and scored on two straight drives for the Colonels, one to close the second quarter and another to open the third. This gave the Colonels their first lead at 28-21 and this would stand through the end of the third quarter. 
Tarleton answered with a Britten 59-yard burst, Derrell Kelley ran in from the 3 for a touchdown, and Tarleton tied the game on the first drive of the fourth quarter, 28 apiece. 
TSU attempted a 24-yard field goal with three seconds left for the win, but it sailed wide left that forced both program’s first overtime game of the season.
EKU wasted no opportunities in OT and scored in two plays thanks to two massive Sloan carries including a 20-yard push, making it 35-28 Colonels. 
With one drive chance to win the game, Tarleton found themselves in a 4th & 15 situation, but it was no problem as Gabalis found a wide-open Darius Cooper up the middle for a 30-yard touchdown reception. TSU went for the tie and made the PAT, sending the game to 2OT. 
EKU linebacker Logan Blake intercepted a broken-up pass and drove the ball over 40 yards downfield that set up the Colonels opportunity to tie the contest.
A roughing the passer call against TSU’s Brandon Tolvert set the Colonels up at the six-yard line. From there, EKU’s McKinney was pushed in from the 1-yard line and sealed an emotional homecoming victory for the Colonels.
EKU’s Sloan had a career game, running for 122 yards on 24 attempts and punching in three touchdowns. McKinney himself ran for 104 yards on 10 attempts. McKinney passed for 190 yards, connecting on 19-33 pass attempts. Jalen Burbage added 54 receiving yards on 4 catches.
The Colonels (3-3, 2-0 UAC) have won three in a row and now sits atop the UAC by conference winning percentage. Tarleton State drops to 4-3 (1-2 UAC) on the season. 
EKU will take a pause from conference play and travels to Gardner-Webb next weekend to face the Runnin’ Bulldogs 6:00 PM. EKU is seeking to avenge its loss to GWU last season in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

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