CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University shutout Austin Peay State University in the second half to overcome a 13-3 deficit and pick up an Ohio Valley Conference football win, 17-13, on Saturday.
The win was the 600th in the history of Colonel football.
Leodis Moore III intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown with 8:12 left in the third quarter to cut the Governor lead to 13-10. The interception came two plays after the Colonels had missed on a 25-yard field goal attempt.
On the third play of Eastern’s next possession, quarterback Alphonso Howard left the game with an injury. True freshman Parker McKinney came in and went 7-for-8 the rest of the game for 89 yards.
Moore’s second interception of the game stopped an Austin Peay drive at the EKU 29 yard line with 6:33 left in the game. McKinney went to work and led the Colonels to the go-ahead score. He completed a 3rd-and-5 pass that came up just short of the first down. L.J. Scott took the hand off and picked up the first down on a 13-yard run to keep the drive alive. On the next play, McKinney hit Jackson Beerman for 14 yards over the middle to the APSU 35 yard line. A roughing the passer penalty pushed the ball to the 20 yard line. McKinney dropped back to pass again and connected with a diving Dan Paul over the middle in the end zone for the touchdown.
Samuel Hayworth’s extra point gave the visitors a four-point lead with 4:23 to go.
The Eastern Kentucky (5-4, 4-2 OVC) defense rose to the occasion again. The Governors moved the ball to the EKU 27 yard line. On 3rd-and-4, Kente Williams carried the ball to the 18, but a holding penalty made it 3rd-and-14 from the 37. Jeremiah Oatsvall threw two incompletions and Austin Peay gave the ball back with 1:49 remaining.
Eastern ran the ball on three straight plays forcing the Govs to use their two remaining timeouts, but the Colonels had to punt with 38 seconds on the clock. On the second play of the ensuing possession, TJ Comstock intercepted the ball to seal the win.
The Colonels will play their final home game of the 2018 regular season on Saturday, Nov. 10, against Robert Morris. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
EKU out-gained the conference’s top rushing team 215 to 190 on the ground. Eastern had nearly a 100-yard advantage in total offense, 360 to 261. Daryl McCleskey had 81 yards on 14 carries. Scott finished with 73 yards on 18 carries.
Moore ended the game with his two interceptions, eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a pass break-up.
Both teams scored on their first possessions of the game. Austin Peay (4-5, 2-4 OVC) got a five-yard touchdown run from Oatsvall to draw first blood. The Colonels marched 48 yards on nine plays and saw Hayworth convert a 35-yard field goal.
Eastern’s offense failed to score again in the first half, but the defense held APSU to two long field goals in the second quarter. Logan Birchfield hit from 45 and 43 yards away. EKU missed two good scoring opportunities when the Governors killed a drive with an interception at the APSU 12 yard line in the first quarter and Hayworth’s 51-yard field goal attempt with no time left in the second quarter had the distance but missed just to the right.
Eastern Kentucky now has a record of 600-386-38 in 105 seasons of football. No other Ohio Valley Conference school has more than 563 football victories (Tennessee State).
The Colonels entered Saturday’s game ranked fourth in the nation with 13 interceptions this season. EKU had three against the Governors. Eastern totaled just five picks during the 2017 season.
Coming into the game, EKU had limited its previous three opponents to 22 percent third down conversion rate (8-of-37). Austin Peay finished 1-for-11 on Saturday on third downs.
Leodis Moore’s third quarter interception, returned 35 yards for a touchdown, was his fourth pick of the season and sixth of his career. He had another interception in the fourth quarter.
Austin Peay entered the game leading the OVC, and 14th in the nation, with 247.5 rushing yards per game. EKU held the Govs to 190 yards on the ground.
Eastern Kentucky is now 45-6 all-time against Austin Peay and 22-3 against the Governors in games played in Clarksville.
TJ Comstock’s interception on Austin Peay’s last play of the game was his first pick of the season and second of his career.