Football: EKU falls 23-20 in overtime at Eastern Illinois

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Daryl McCleskey Jr. scored on a 5-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left in regulation, but Eastern Illinois University tied the score with 1.9 seconds remaining and won 23-20 in overtime.

With the game tied 13-13, EKU started its late fourth quarter scoring drive with 3:46 on the clock.  A big 19-yard catch by Dan Paul got the Colonels to the EIU 36 yard line.  Moments later, on 2nd-and-13 from the 27 yard line, McCleskey broke free up the middle for 23 yards.  He capped the drive with another run up the middle, this time from five yards out to give the Colonels a 20-13 lead with 37 seconds remaining in the game.


The Panthers came right back and answered with the game-tying drive.  Scotty Gilkey’s 26 yard touchdown pass to Alexander Hollins finished off a 4-play, 67-yard drive that lasted just 30 seconds.


EIU made a 45-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime and then intercepted the Colonels on the first play of their possession to win the game.


The two teams battled to a 10-10 tie at halftime.  The Panthers used a 64-yard pass on the first possession of the game to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Gilkey.  Eastern Kentucky answered with a 7-play, 67-yard drive that culminated in a 14-yard touchdown run by McCleskey.  The ensuing extra-point tied the game 7-7.  McCleskey covered every inch of the drive.  He set it up with a 23-yard kickoff return.  He carried the ball five times for 48 yards and caught a 19-yard pass during the drive.


The two teams then added field goals in the second quarter.  EKU’s came from 34 yards off the foot of Lucas Williams with 12:28 on the clock.  Both teams tacked on field goals in the third quarter as well.  This time Williams hit from 37 yards away with 12:47 left in the third.


McCleskey finished with 70 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.  Ryan Markush caught five passes for 75 yards.  Kobie Grace had a team-high 11 tackles.


Gilkey finished 12-for-20 for 213 yards.  He threw one touchdown and ran for another.


Eastern Illinois (6-4, 5-2 OVC) out-gained Eastern Kentucky (3-6, 3-4 OVC) 322 to 280 and both teams committed two turnovers.  The Panthers held a 109-64 advantage on the ground.


The Colonels will play at home next Saturday when Austin Peay visits Roy Kidd Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.



Daryl McCleskey’s two touchdowns were his second and third of the season, and seventh and eighth of his two-year career.


Lucas Williams made two field goals from 30-plus yards, improving to 7-for-10 on field goals of 30-plus this season and 8-for-12 overall.

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