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EKU road warriors seek to keep pressure on in OVC race, face last-place Tennessee State

Eastern is looking for its eighth win of the year, which would tie coach Dean Hoods' high mark with the program (EKU Athletics Photo)

Eastern is looking for its eighth win of the year, which would tie coach Dean Hoods’ high mark with the program (EKU Athletics Photo)


Eastern Kentucky will try to keep the pressure on Jacksonville State in the Ohio Valley Conference football race Saturday when the Colonels travel to Tennessee State for a 3 p.m. matchup with the Tigers.

The Colonels, ranked 16th in the country in both national polls, bring an overall record of 7-1 into the contest, including a 4-1 mark in the OVC. Jacksonville State is 4-0 in league action. Tennessee State is 4-5, including and OVC worst 1-4 against league opponents.

Eastern Kentucky will be in search of its fifth road win at Tennessee State. The Colonels have not won five road games since the 1990 season. Tennessee State is coming off a 28-3 loss to Eastern Illinois.

Entering week 10, Eastern Kentucky ranks second in the league in scoring offense (35.1 points per game) while Tennessee State leads the conference in scoring defense (17.6 points a game). The Colonels have scored at least 30 points in six straight games.

Junior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley sparks the EKU offense. He leads the league in rushing (922 yards) and ranks 13th nationally in rushing yards per carry (6.4). Mobley has reached the 100-yard plateau in five of the last six games, including 111 yards and three touchdowns last weekend against Southeast Missouri.

Senior quarterback Jared McClain and sophomore receiver Devin Borders are both closing in on the 1,000-yard mark for yardage. McClain needs 58 more rushing yards to reach 1,000 for his career. McClain has tallied a rushing touchdown in five of the last six games. Borders needs 66 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. Borders finished with a season-best 118 yards receiving and a score last week in Eastern’s 33-21 win at Southeast Missouri.

Senior defensive back Brandon Stanley is tied for the league lead with four interceptions. Stanley has notched an interception in three of the last four games. The safety also ranks first on the team with 64 tackles and has averaged 12 tackles per game over the last three contests.

EKU’s defense has forced 23 turnovers in 2014, which ranks second nationally (FCS) behind only North Carolina A&T (27 turnovers). Eastern has forced at least two turnovers in every game except the season opener.

Eastern leads the overall series with Tennessee State, 21-5.

Eastern handed TSU its second-most lopsided loss in program history last year, 44-0, as the Colonels held the Tigers to a season-low 172 yards.

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In 2012, the Tigers scored touchdowns on their last two drives to earn a 23-20 win. The two teams first squared off in the 1982 Division I-AA playoffs with Eastern prevailing in the semifinal round, 13-7. The Colonels went on to capture the national title with a 17-14 victory over Delaware.

With a win, the Colonels would gain their eighth victory of the season, equaling their most in seven years under head coach Dean Hood.

EKU will remain on the road Nov. 8, facing Jacksonville State. The Colonels’ final home game of the year is set for Nov. 15 against Murray State.

From EKU Athletics

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