The finale for the EKU Colonels is a game to remember. A beautiful 54 degrees at kickoff, a day designated to recognize the Seniors became the most important game of the season.
Jacksonville St finished their roller-coaster season with a week 2 win over Florida St, but then had their coach resign only a few weeks later. JSU announced they will be leaving the ASUN Conference after one season to go to Conference USA. EKU came out with the goal to send JSU packing.
The EKU defense has been a steadying force all season, and they started the first half in dominant fashion. Joseph Sayles forced a fumble on JSU’s first drive and Senior Kyle Bailey recovered it. The defense forced a three-and-out on the second possession. In the third possession, JSU finally scored with a field goal. The EKU offense woke up on their third possession of the day when QB Parker McKinney capped off an 8 play 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Five minutes later, EKU took a 14-3 lead when McKinney found TE Dakota Allen on a 31-yard touchdown pass. JSU scored on a 2-yard run right before the half to make it 14-10 EKU at the half.
Senior LB Kyle Bailey finished the first half with 8 tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack. Parker McKinney led the team in rushing with 53 yards and had 113 yards passing and 1 touchdown. Dakota Allen had 4 catches for 68 yards and 1 touchdown.
The second half was all about perseverance for the Colonels. Patrick Nations hit a 51-yard field goal on EKU’s second drive, then JSU took over scoring 14 unanswered points and looking like they had the game won with 46 seconds to go in the game. Then Parker McKinney happened! EKU started at their own 25, and 44 seconds later, tied the game with a 13-yard pass to Braedon Sloan.
JSU scored quickly to start overtime, then Parker McKinney happened. Do you see a pattern? McKinney ran for 24 yards, before eventually being sacked on third down to set up 4th and goal from the 10, needing a touchdown. McKinney found Dakota Allen on 4th down to extend overtime. The next possession ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Smith. That is when the EKU defense had their biggest stand of the season, keeping JSU from scoring again.
Senior WR Matt Wilcox Jr had a scary injury in the second half and had to be taken off on a stretcher. Coach Wells reported after the game, Wilcox had feeling and movement in all his extremities and is doing well. More information to come.
TE Dakota Allen had a personal best 7 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also caught a 2pt conversion in overtime.
WR Matt Wilcox Jr rose to third all-time in receiving yards in a season at EKU.
QB Parker McKinney led the team in rushing with 98 yards while passing for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns.