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EKU pulls away from Presbyterian for road win

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-21 19:00:15-04

CLINTON, S.C. – Eastern Kentucky University’s football team scored 28 unanswered points on its way to a 35-10 victory at Presbyterian College on Saturday.

EKU running back Daryl McCleskey Jr. scored a touchdown while churning out 138 yards on 12 carries, an average of 11.5 per touch. Redshirt freshman quarterback Parker McKinney finished 14-for-20 for 155 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Newcomer Keyion Dixon caught six passes, including a scoring reception, for 101 yards.

Joseph Sayles had two interceptions for a Colonel defense that held the Blue Hose to 224 total yards.

With Eastern (2-2) trailing 10-7 with 36 seconds left in the first quarter, McKinney got a quick drive started. On the second play he ended the quarter with a 45-yard pass to Dixon over the middle to the PC 10 yard line. On the first play of the second quarter McKinney and Dixon hooked up for the go-ahead score. The 3-play, 65-yard drive took just 35 seconds.

The Colonels put some distance between the two teams late in the second. Taking over at his own 30 yard line with 2:08 on the clock, McKinney engineered another touchdown drive. He got it started with a 19-yard toss to Davion Ross to reach midfield. A completion to McCleskey along the right sideline moved the ball eight yards and a run up the middle by McKinney picked up eight more to the 11 yard line. Two plays later, McKinney took off around the left side and finished the drive himself with an 11-yard touchdown run. The extra-point made it 21-10 with just 26 seconds to go before the break.

Neither team scored in the third quarter and then Eastern Kentucky put 14 points on the board in a period of 1:02 in the fourth quarter. On the first play of EKU’s second fourth quarter possession, McCleskey ripped of a 63-yard touchdown run down the left side. On the second play of the ensuing Presbyterian possession, Sayles picked off his second pass of the game and returned it 34 yards to the six. McCleskey got the Colonels to the one before McKinney connected with Jaelin Carter in the left corner for six. The extra-point made it 35-10 with 9:30 left in the game.

Eastern totaled a season-best 452 yards of offense – 229 on the ground and a season-high 223 through the air. Presbyterian (0-3) finished with just 100 rushing yards.

After three straight road games, Eastern Kentucky will be back home at Roy Kidd Stadium next Saturday to host Tennessee State for the first Ohio Valley Conference game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.