TROY, Ala. (EKU Sports) – Eastern Kentucky University’s football team took a 29-28 lead at Troy University with 21 seconds left in the game, but the Trojans drove 30 yards and then made a 47-yard field goal as time expired to pull out a 31-29 win on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Colonels will host No. 11 Central Arkansas next Saturday (Oct. 24) for Homecoming 2020.
Down by five, the Eastern Kentucky defense forced a punt from midfield with 2:54 to go, giving the offense one more chance. On 4th-and-9, Parker McKinney found Keyion Dixon for 37 yards to the Troy 30 yard line with 1:11 on the clock. Jackson Beerman’s 26-yard catch over the middle moved the ball to the four with less than a minute to go. Two plays later McKinney found Dixon in the back of the end zone for six points and a 29-28 lead.
Troy (3-1) used three plays to drive 30 yards before Evan Legassey converted a 47-yard field goal as time expired for the win.
EKU (1-4) tied the score midway through the first quarter at 7-7 after McKinney found an open Dixon down the right sideline for a 90-yard touchdown. It was the longest touchdown pass in program history, beating the previous record of 86 yards set by Matt Guice to Andre Ralston against Southeast Missouri in 2004.
Alexander Woznick’s 19-yard field goal drew Eastern within four, 14-10 early in the second quarter.
The Colonels took their first lead of the game when Alonzo Booth capped a 14-play, 85-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run. The drive chewed up 6:45 off the clock and put the visitors in front 17-14 with 4:49 on the clock in the second quarter.
Eastern converted four third downs on the drive. McKinney found Jacquez Jones for 14 yards on 3rd-and-9. On a 3rd-and-11, McKinney connected with Dixon for 15 yards. Facing a 3rd-and-5, McKinney completed a pass to Ethan Bednarczyk for eight yards. On 3rd-and-4 from the Troy 37 yard line, McKinney hooked up with Dixon for 20. Two plays later Booth finished off the drive.
The Trojans scored on a 1-yard rush by Kimani Vidal with 2:26 remaining in the second quarter to go back on top. A 22-yard pass to Reggie Todd from Gunnar Watson with 9:35 to go in the third quarter extended the home team’s lead to 28-17.
Eastern got within eight on a 22-yard field goal by Woznick with 14:41 left in the game. On the ensuing Troy possession, Nic Cheeley forced a fumble and Elijah Taylor recovered for the Colonels but the visitors were ultimately forced to punt.
Taylor tipped up a pass and came down with an interception with 7:33 remaining in the game. Woznick converted the turnover into a 25-yard field goal to cut the margin to five, 28-23.
McKinney finished the day 30-for-47 for a career-best 370 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and had one interception. Dixon caught eight of those throws for 196 yards and two scores. Jones had eight catches for 75 yards. Beerman caught six for 57 yards.
Kaleb Lundy led the defense with 11 tackles. The Eastern defense had three take aways.
Watson was 26-for-38 with three touchdowns, two interceptions and 333 yards for Troy. Vidal finished with 143 rushing yards on 13 carries and scored once.