HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Eastern Kentucky University’s special teams recovered two punts and a kickoff, while blocking a field goal and a punt in a 32-16 loss at Marshall Universityon Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The opening kickoff of the second half bounced off the leg of the returner for Marshall (2-0), and redshirt freshman Matthew Jackson recovered the kick for the Colonels at Marshall’s 30-yard line. LJ Scott kept the Colonels’ drive alive with a 15-yard run on third down. Two plays later, Alonzo Booth powered into the end zone to cut the lead to six points, 20-13, with12:28 left in the third quarter.
That’s as close as EKU would get.
Eastern Kentucky (1-1) had two rushing touchdowns, courtesy of Scott and Booth. The Colonels outrushed the Thundering Herd 139-89. Leodis Moore III and Darien Tipps-Clemons both recorded blocks on special teams for EKU.
The Colonels’ opening drive of the game ended with a punt, but the ball bounced off a Marshall player and Jaelin Carter recovered it. The offense could not sustain a drive and the Thundering Herd went on to score 13 unanswered points in the first quarter.
Eastern experienced déjà vu when its first drive of the second quarter ended with a punt that was touched by a Marshall player, allowing Booth to recover the ball. Starting at Marshall’s 19-yard line, EKU only needed three plays for Scott to find the end zone for a two-yard touchdown.
After an interception late in the second quarter led to a quick Marshall touchdown, Dakota Allen marched the Colonels down the field. A field goal attempt with :04 remaining would be denied, allowing the Thundering Herd to take a 20-6 lead into the locker room.
Marshall wasted no time responding to Booth’s touchdown, using a quick five play, 55-yard drive to extend their lead 27-13. A field goal with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter put the Thundering Herd ahead by 17 points.
Special teams managed to make one last big play when Tipps-Clemons blocked a punt with 5:18 left in the game. EKU’s offense went three-and-out, settling for a field goal to make it a 30-16 game. On a third down with 3:06 remaining, Allen was sacked in the endzone for a safety to extend the Thundering Herd lead to 32-16.
Marshall’s Isaiah Green threw for a game-high 278 yards, completing 23-of-39 attempts. Obi Obialo attributed two receiving touchdowns for the Thundering Herd, while Tyre Brad had one.
The Colonels continue a stretch of two-straight road games next Saturday at Bowling Green State University. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.