Eastern Kentucky University led the University of Kentucky for nearly three quarters before the Wildcats came from behind to pull out a 27-16 victory on Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington.
After UK made a field goal on its first possession of the game, Eastern scored 13 unanswered points and continued to lead until the 2:57 mark of the third quarter.
On the Colonels’ first possession of the game, Tim Boyle drove the team 75 yards on nine plays to the go-ahead score. Ryan Markush caught a seven-yard touchdown pass to polish off the drive. The extra-point from Lucas Williams made it 7-3 with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
As part of the regular game plan, Austin Scott came on to quarterback the Colonels for the first possession of the second quarter. He methodically moved EKU 66 yards on 12 plays over 6:39. A hand-off and run up the middle by newcomer LJ Scott from seven yards away finished off the drive. The extra-point was blocked and the visitors led 13-3 with 5:44 left in the second quarter.
Kentucky added a score, on a 23-yard pass from Stephen Johnson to C.J. Conrad, with 1:28 remaining before the break to set the halftime score at 13-10.
Eastern went up 16-10 with 4:08 left in the third when Williams sent a 31-yard field goal through the uprights. UK answered on its very next drive, moving 75 yards on just three plays to take the lead. Benny Snell’s 25-yard touchdown run and ensuing extra-point made it 17-16 in favor of the home team with 2:57 showing on the clock in the third.
Kentucky scored on a 21-yard run by Johnson almost five minutes into the fourth quarter to go up eight. Eastern refused to let the Cats pull away. A field goal in the final 30 seconds of the game set the final score.
EKU registered three sacks while the Colonel offensive line allowed just one by the Wildcats. Eastern turned the ball over twice, but did not force a turnover.
Two quarterbacks combined for 256 yards passing for Eastern Kentucky while UK totaled 229 yards through the air. The Wildcats ran the ball 39 times and out-gained EKU 207-62 on the ground.
Boyle finished 24-for-35 for 202 yards. He tossed one touchdown and one interception. Markush caught 10 passes for 98 yards, including one score. Neiko Creamer made eight catches for 82 yards. Scott finished with 40 yards on nine carries.
Kobie Grace had a game-best 15 tackles. Jeffrey Canady finished with 13 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Ben Bascom and Aaron Patrick also recorded one sack each.
Scott completed 7-of-8 passes for 54 yards in one series that resulted in a touchdown.
Johnson went 15-for-22 for 224 yards and threw one touchdown pass for Kentucky. Blake Bone caught three passes for 93 yards. Snell totaled 103 yards on 19 carries.
The Colonels will have a week off of game action before beginning conference play at home on Sept. 23 against Tennessee Tech. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Ryan Markush’s 7-yard touchdown catch from Tim Boyle was his third of the season and the third time the duo have hooked up for a touchdown in the first two games of the season.
LJ Scott’s second quarter 7-yard touchdown run was his first score as a Colonel.
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