The Colonels went for the big play right away.
And after an 84-yard touchdown pass just more than two minutes into the game, the disappointment that still lingered from last week’s loss at Tennessee State quickly evaporated.
From that point on, the Colonels were in complete control.
Senior quarterback T.J. Pryor set two more career passing records and All-American Matt Denham rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns as EKU (5-2, 2-1 OVC) hammered winless Austin Peay (0-7, 0-5), 45-14, Saturday on Homecoming at Roy Kidd Stadium.
The Colonels had a 28-point lead in the second half and finished with 474 yards of total offense.
“When you have a loss like (last week at Tennessee State), you are either going to have a chink in your armor or the guys are going to lock arms and its going to make them stronger,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “I really feel like they had a resolve about them this week and they came out showed it.”
Last week’s 23-20 loss in Nashville knocked the preseason OVC favorites out of first place and made Tennessee State (7-0, 3-0) the front-runner for the title.
A lopsided victory certainly eased some of the sting of that setback.
“Last week was basically a wake-up call for us,” Pryor said. “We just had to come out this week and play harder.”
On their first play from scrimmage, the Colonels set the tone.
Pryor hit Cameron Bailey, who was wide open on the left sideline. The senior went untouched into the end zone.
“For a minute I thought (T.J.) was going to overthrow me,” Bailey said. “But, we talked about it before the game. I knew he was throwing with the wind and he threw a great ball.”
That touchdown pass was the longest of Pryor’s career and tied the senior with Jim Guice for the school’s career passing TD record (46).
After Denham scored on an 18-yard run in the first quarter, Pryor broke the school’s all-time completions record (478 — Josh Greco) on a 28-yard TD pass to Tyrone Goard with 11:01 left before halftime.
Two weeks ago, the senior set the school record for career passing yards (6,547).
“It feels great,” Pryor said. “Those records are awesome. I just wish I could have all my teams on (the record too). It just feels great.”
Denham scored again, this time on a 5-yard run, with 5:47 left in the second, giving EKU a 28-7 lead at halftime.
The Colonels had 302 total yards of offense in the first half.
Justin Bell ended any thought of a Peay comeback early in the second half. The senior defensive back got his hands on a tipped ball and went 16 yards for a touchdown.
“There was nobody out there, so I just hustled over to make the play,” Bell said. “He tipped it up and it went into my hands.”
That gave the Colonels a comfortable 35-7 lead.
Luke Pray connected on a 29-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the third and Xavier Foster scored on a 4-yard run in opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Governors have given the Colonels trouble in recent years.
Austin Peay beat EKU in 2009 and 2011 at home and the previous two games at Roy Kidd Stadium were also very competitive as well — 2008, 13-10 win in OT; 2010, 17-3 win.
“We haven’t played our best games against them, but coming out here today we knew we had to stay focused,” Pryor said.
Austin Peay hasn’t won in Richmond since 1977.
Pryor was 8-of-13 for 232 yards. Bailey had 125 yards on three catches and Nathan Watts had three catches for 85 yards.
After Saturday’s action, three teams are tied for second place in the OVC behind Tennessee State — EKU (3-1), Eastern Illinois (3-1) and UT-Martin (3-1).
The Colonels are set to return to action Saturday at Tennessee Tech.
“The OVC is always great,” Pryor said. “Any team can beat any team. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
The Colonels went for the big play right away.
GOLF: Golfers tee it up for Mike’s Kids
Last Wednesday, 40 four-person teams teed it up in a scramble at Arlington Country Club for Mike’s Kids Education Foundation.
All proceeds from this scramble benefit the students of Madison County Schools.
H.S. BASEBALL: Central standouts honored
Madison Central baseball players Ben Morin, Ben Fisher and Jimmy Wright have each been selected to participate in postseason events this week in Louisville.
GOLF: Local golfers set to compete at State Amateur
Eight golfers with local connections will tee it up today in the opening round of the 102nd Kentucky Amateur Championship at Bowling Green Country Club.
BASKETBALL: Hawkins' first week as a Wildcat has been a dream come true.
Following the Kentucky All-Star team’s big loss to the Indiana All-Stars Friday at Freedom Hall, Mr. Basketball Dominique Hawkins was immediately surrounded by a throng of reporters as he left the floor.
GOLF: Miller finishes in third place
Richmond’s Zachary Miller turned in another solid performance Friday in the final round of the Musselman-Dunne Golf Tour event at Long Run Golf Course in Louisville.
H.S. HOOPS: Indiana rolls past Kentucky
Despite nice performances from former Madison Central stars Ken-Jah Bosley and Mr. Basketball Dominique Hawkins, the Kentucky All-Stars were dominated by Indiana 114-60 Friday at Freedom Hall.
H.S. HOOPS: Feldhaus, Brooks lead Kentucky past Indiana
Madison County’s dynamic duo of Ashton Feldhaus and Larryn Brooks had a big hand in the Kentucky All-Stars 84-78 win over the Indiana All-Stars Friday in Freedom Hall.
BOWLING: Cracraft leads the way at Galaxy
Matt Cracraft bowled the best game and series for the men at Galaxy this week, while the highest women’s game and series were bowled by Narita Rose.
GOLF: Clark tied for lead at Long Run
A pair of Madison County youth golfers are in the hunt for a title following Thursday’s first round of the Musselman-Dunne Golf Tour Event at Long Run Golf Course in Louisville.
H.S. HOOPS: Kentucky All-Stars set to take on Indiana
After a week of preparation and two scrimmage games against the junior all-stars, the girls and boys Kentucky All-Star teams will take on the Indiana All-stars today at Freedom Hall.
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