Eastern Kentucky falls to Kansas State 10-7
Eastern Kentucky shut out Kansas State for 49 minutes, 49 seconds on Saturday night.
The Colonels would rather forget the rest of the game.
Kansas State rallied behind a 33-yard touchdown pass from Collin Klein to Chris Harper in the closing minutes for a 10-7 victory, marking the 11th consecutive season the Colonels have started their season with a loss and dropping them to 4-17 against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Without regular quarterback T.J. Pryor and all-conference wide receiver Orlandus Harris, the Colonels struggled offensively, unable to put points on the board until late in the third quarter.
It nearly was enough anyway.
''I just hurt for the kids,'' said Eastern Kentucky head coach Dean Hood. ''They played so hard, put it on the line, accepted every challenge of every situation of the game and never backed down. I'm just really, really proud of them, just hurting for them because we really wanted to come away with a `W,' that's just the bottom line of the whole thing.''
Eastern Kentucky positioned itself to win for the first time against an FBS school since it defeated Louisville in 1985, taking a 7-0 lead into the fourth quarter. After Kansas State got a field goal, Klein connected with Harper in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
''My hat goes off to Dean and this football team that they brought in here,'' said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who picked up his 150th win on a night he would otherwise rather forget.
''They really played well,'' Snyder said. ''We've known that they were always a good defensive football team, but they've struggled on offense. They didn't have their best receiver; they didn't have their number one quarterback, and still managed to do well ... and the way that they managed to - in all practical purposes - win the ball game.''
Kansas State fumbled five times - losing four of them - and struggled to get anything going against a school from the Ohio Valley Conference. By the time freshman quarterback Jared McClain plunged in from a yard out in the third quarter, Eastern Kentucky found itself in the lead.
McClain, starting in place of Pryor, finished 9 of 26 for 119 yards, but he was intercepted twice and sacked four times. He also didn't get much help from his ground game, despite going against a defense that ranked nearly last in the FBS last season against the run.
Eastern Kentucky managed just 10 yards of net rushing on 27 carries.
''There are just so many things that play in the course of this ball game, but defensively I thought up front they played hard and that they were where they were supposed to be,'' Snyder said of his defensive front. ''They were not soft on the line.''
Anthony Cantele, who earlier missed a 37-yard field goal try, brought Kansas State within 7-3 when he hit from 36 yards out with 11:36 left in the game. The Kansas State defense managed to stop Eastern Kentucky on its ensuing possession, and Klein and Harper took care of things after that.
The late touchdown pass allowed Kansas State to hand Eastern Kentucky its 19th consecutive non-conference road loss - and avoid an embarrassing home defeat of its own.
''We started to wear down and they played well,'' Eastern Kentucky safety Patrick McClellan said. ''We adjusted to their changes but just not well enough.''