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EKU aims for first win of the season
The Colonels look to snap a three game losing streak.
Coming off a bye-week, Eastern football looks to end its three game losing streak when Kentucky State University comes to town on Saturday.
This marks Eastern (0-3, 0-0 OVC) and KSU’s (2-3, 2-3 SIAC) fifth meeting with the Colonels holding the series advantage 4-0. The last meeting was in 2000 in which Eastern won 52-0.
Head Coach Dean Hood said his team got back to the basics and took advantage of having the week off.
“It was a good time for us to get back to fundamentals and the basics,” Hood said. “It also allowed us to get a little more physical. We weren’t concerned with having a game and getting banged. We had a whole week of full pads and we had some physical, tough practices.”
Eastern comes into the game averaging a shade under 300 yards of offense per game, but the majority of the yards has been coming through the air (229 per game). T.J. Pryor knows the Colonels have to start establishing their run game, which ranks last in the Ohio Valley Conference, in order to find success.
“The run game is so important,” Pryor said. “Especially for me. If we put together a run game the defense can’t just defend the pass. We’ve been working on it a lot this week.”
Pryor will be without favorite wide receiver senior Shannon Davis. Davis tore his ACL and is likely out for the season.
“Shannon is a great athlete,” Pryor said. “He is such a deep threat and maybe the fastest guy in the OVC. Not having him is going to hurt us but other guys have been stepping up.”
“He’s a big speed guy for us. He’s a senior and he will be sorely missed,” Hood said. “But we have some other packages, formations and personnel groupings we can use. We can be more tight end oriented and run more two back.”
Kentucky State, who last week lost a close game to Miles College 13-12, boasts a power rushing attack and receiving core.
“They’ve got some really good receivers,” Hood said. “Their receivers get a lot of yards after the catch and they run the power and the counter very well. They are very explosive on offense.”
The Thorobreds rank fourth in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in rushing (157 per game) and third in total offense (352 per game). They start Shannon Frieson at running back who is averaging just under 75 yards a game on the ground. Shannon is the brother of Eastern running back Bruce Frieson. Their quarterback, Jerrell Noland ranks first in passing in the conference with 195 yards per game.
“They have an explosive runner who if he gets passed the front line can take it the distance,” Hood said. “They do some nice things that definitely present some problems for us.
Defensively the Thorobreds are strong. Senior line backer Derrick Addai leads the conference with 47 total tackles and is averaging nine a game. Addai had his best game of the season last week racking up 14 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Despite his team’s 0-3 start and Hood doesn’t see any quit in his team or notice anyone feeling sorry for themselves.
“When you have an off week and a full pad practice where we are banging and bruising, if we had a moral problem we would have 20 guys not dressed out for practice, we had three.” Hood said. “We had guys out there taped up, bruised up, banged up trying to make themselves better. Our guy are looking in the mirror and not looking around trying to blame someone else. Our guys and coaches are focused on themselves getting better for the team.”
By Ryan Alves, The Eastern Progress