Ground game leads EKU to 20-6 win over Southeast Missouri

RICHMOND, Ky. - The Eastern Kentucky University football team rushed for a season-high 183 yards in a 20-6 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Southeast Missouri Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium. Senior C.J. Walker rushed for 81 yards and scored twice for the Colonels (5-3, 5-2 OVC).

Junior Bruce Frieson ran for 54 yards on 10 carries and scored a late touchdown for EKU. Sophomore H.B. Banjoman added 33 yards on six carries. Redshirt freshman quarterback T.J. Pryor completed 16-of-22 passes for 156 yards.

The Colonel defense limited the Redhawks (1-7, 0-6 OVC) to 244 yards of total offense. SEMO finished 5-of-16 (31.2 percent) on third downs, but went for it six times on fourth down, converting three.

Henry Harris rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries for Southeast Missouri. Quarterback Matt Scheible completed 11-of-29 passes for 95 yards and threw two interceptions to go along with one touchdown pass.

The Colonels took the opening kick-off and got on the board first. On 3rd-and-5 from the EKU 40-yard line, Pryor connected with junior Cody Watts for 22 yards. Facing 3rd-and-16 at the SEMO 44, Pryor picked up 15 yards on the ground. Needing one more yard, Eastern went for it on fourth down. Walker broke loose for 16 yards to the SEMO 13. Three plays later, facing another third down, Walker took it to the house from nine yards out with 8:54 remaining in the first quarter. Junior Logan O'Connor missed the PAT.

On its first possession of the second quarter, Eastern put together what would prove to be the winning drive. After the defense stopped the Redhawks on 4th-and-1, the offense took over at the SEMO 24-yard line. Walker picked up five yards on a pair of carries and then Pryor connected with junior Shannon Davis for 14 yards to the four-yard line. Three plays later, Walker scored his second touchdown, this time from a yard out.

The Redhawks engineered their only scoring drive of the game in the fourth quarter. On 3rd-and-4 from the EKU 32, Harris picked up 15 yards on the ground. On the next play, Scheible found Walter Peoples in the left corner from 17 yards out to cut the deficit to 13-6. Junior Andrew Soucy blocked the PAT to keep the Colonels on top by seven, 13-6, with 4:05 left in the game.

Southeast Missouri wouldn't get any closer. The Colonels chewed up the next four minutes by running the ball seven times. On 3rd-and-4, Banjoman carried for 22 yards to the SEMO 32 to keep the clock ticking. Eastern had a 4th-and-6 with the clock ticking down inside of 10 seconds, Pryor handed off to Frieson and the junior broke free on the left side for 28 yards to the end zone. O'Connor connected on the extra-point and the Colonels led 20-6 with 4.3 seconds showing on the clock.

The Colonels will play at Kentucky next Saturday. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m.

--Junior Andrew Soucy blocked Southeast Missouri's point-after attempt in the fourth quarter. It is his fifth blocked kick of the season.

--The Colonels have now blocked at least one kick in six of their last seven games.

--C.J. Walker's two first half rushing touchdowns were the 14th and 15th of his career. He has seven rushing touchdowns this season.

--The win over Southeast Missouri ensures EKU a winning OVC record for the ninth straight year.

--In Eastern Kentucky's five conference victories, the Colonels are +8 in the turnover margin category. In its two OVC losses, EKU is -6 and the defense has not forced a turnover.

EKU Athletic Public Relations