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Kerns Rally for First Win over SEMO

photo by Danny Pendelton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Nations with the Game Winner at the Buzzer

RICHMOND – September 23, 2023

EKU scored 17 points in the final six minutes, including a game-winning 46-yard field goal from Patrick Nations as time expired, to knock off No. 16 Southeast Missouri State on Saturday night at Roy Kidd. Stadium. 

The Colonels have now beaten a top-25 team in each of the last four seasons. 

SEMO (1-2, 1-0 OVC) jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on its first two possessions to go up 10-0 with 3:55 to go in the first quarter. EKU muffed the kickoff following the Redhawks second score to give SEMO the ball on the EKU 27, where the Redhawks would score off of a 13-yard touchdown pass from DeLaurent to WR Damoriea Vick, making the game 17-0 SEMO with 2:32 to play in the first.

The Colonels found the end zone late in the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Parker McKinney to Jaden Smith. On EKU’s following possession, Jaycob Horn made his first catch as a Colonel a big one, hauling in a six-yard touchdown pass to make the score 17-14 with 3:40 left in the half. SEMO wasted no time on its next drive, scoring on another touchdown pass to move ahead 24-14.

Nations chipped in a 35-yard field goal to close the half, making the score 24-17 SEMO at the break.

The Colonels would continue to fight, scoring on a Braedon Sloan one-yard touchdown run less then two minutes into the third quarter. A McKinney 42-yard connection to Hunter Brown set up the eventual TD, tying things up at 24-24.

The Redhawks answered quickly with a 15-yard touchdown pass to break the tie at 31-24 SEMO.

SEMO appeared to put the Colonels away when Paxton DeLaurent ran one yard into the end zone, making it 38-24 SEMO with eight and a half minutes left to play.

Following a McKinney to Sloan 51-yard connection, Sloan rumbled in for a two-yard touchdown run. EKU’s defense forced a punt to give the Colonels the ball back 2:34 to play.

EKU marched 86 yards and found its way in the end zone with a Jackson Hensley two-yard pass reception, tying the game at 38-38 with 30 seconds to play, setting up the Redhawks with one final drive in regulation. However, the Colonel defense extinguished any Redhawk hope as Jeremiah Bailey sacked DeLaurent and forced a fumble at the SEMO 28-yard line which EKU’s Darius Sterling recovered with 13 seconds to play to set the Colonels up for a potential game-winning drive.

Nations’ field goal attempt on the game’s final play sailed through the uprights as the Colonels completed a daunting comeback, securing the first win of the season.

McKinney went for 30-for-49 on the night with 260 yards in the air and three touchdowns and added 81 rushing yards on 12 carries. He surpassed the 12,000-yard mark for total offense in his career in the win. Braedon Sloan led the charge on the ground, racking 122 rushing yards on 14 attempts and tallying 51 yards on seven catches. EKU rushed for 272 yards in the win while holding SEMO to just 64 yards rushing.

EKU (1-3, 0-0 UAC) travels to Florence, Alabama for a date with the North Alabama Lions (2-2, 0-1 UAC) next Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

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