By Kevin Britton
Special to College Sports Journal
Editor’s Note: This story is courtesy of .EKUSports.com
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. — A stellar second half allowed the Eastern Kentucky University football team to turn a 10-10 halftime tie into a 27-10 victory over Southeast Missouri State University on Saturday at Houck Stadium.
The 14th-ranked Colonels (4-2, 3-0 OVC) came out of the locker room after halftime and quickly took control of both sides of the ball. The EKU defense forced the Redhawks to punt after three plays on their first possession of the second half.
The Eastern offense then marched to the go-ahead score on three plays. On the first Bennie Coney connected with Ben Madon over the middle and the tight end turned it into a 38-yard gainer as he eluded a tackle and raced toward the left sideline.
After a rush for no gain, Coney then found Bryan Green down the left sideline for a 29-yard touchdown reception. The drive lasted just 1:06 and the extra-point made it 17-10.
That’s essentially all EKU would need. The defense held Southeast to 52 total yards of offense in the second half and just 31 rushing yards for the game.
SEMO scored on two of its first three possessions of the game and took a 10-7 lead on Ryan McCrum’s 20-yard field goal with 8:53 left in the second quarter.
Eastern Kentucky defense then forced SEMO to punt on its next six possessions stretching to the final five minutes of the game when the Redhawks went for it twice on fourth down and failed to convert each time.
A thrilling drive late in the third and early in the fourth gave Eastern a two-touchdown lead.
A 34-yard run off tackle by freshman Ethan Thomas took the Colonels to the SEMO 39 yard line. The drive appeared to stall after EKU gained just one yard on the next three plays. Keith Wrzuszczak came out to punt on fourth-and-9.
The sophomore took the snap, rolled out and found Barton Mann for 16 yards and a first down. Eastern ran one more play to end the third quarter.
On the second play of the fourth, Coney’s pass to Devin Borders on third-and-five gained just three yards, but a face mask penalty gave the visitors first-and-goal at the seven yard line.
Three plays later, Coney found Joel Brown over the middle in the end zone for six. The extra-point made it 24-10.
Coney finished 20-of-29 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Madon caught six of those passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Green finished with four receptions for 82 yards and his touchdown. Thomas ran four times for 57 yards.
EKU had three sacks and a total of 10 tackles for a loss.
Trey Thomas and Tyrell Curry each had eight stops. Noah Spence finished with seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Eastern Kentucky out-gained the home squad 404 to 191 and 113 to 31 on the ground.
Quarterback Dante Vandeven was 24-for-36 for 160 yards for Southeast Missouri (2-5, 1-2 OVC).
The Colonels return home for a homecoming game against Tennessee State on Saturday. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.
EKU had out-scored its opponents 44-14 in the first quarter this season coming into the game. However, Southeast Missouri had a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter today.
Adam Lane’s second quarter 6-yard scoring run was his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
Lucas Williams hit a game-tying 27-yard field goal in the second quarter. He is 7-for-8 this season and 5-for-5 from inside the 40 yard line. He missed a 42-yarder and made a 32-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
Bryan Green’s third quarter 29-yard touchdown reception was his second in as many games.
Eastern now leads the all-time series 23-3 and are 12-1 against the Redhawks in games played in Cape Girardeau.
This was the Colonels’ third game of the season in which they did not turn the ball over.
EKU now has 19 sacks this season and has only allowed five.
In its four victories this season, Eastern has out-scored its opponents 178-50.