Former Elizabethton teammates Ethan Thomas and Logan Birchfield saw their collegiate squads square off on Saturday.
Thomas and the Eastern Kentucky University football team never trailed on the way to a 51-13 win over Birchfield’s Austin Peay squad.
Thomas was the Colonel rushing lead with 59 rushing yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns – in addition to three catches for 30 yards. Birchfield hit an extra point for Austin Peay.
Playing without senior All-American running back Dy’Shawn Mobley, EKU rode the backfield combination of Adam Lane and Thomas to victory. Quarterback Bennie Coney, meanwhile, went 28-of-35 for a season-high 261 yards and a touchdown.
The Colonel defense grounded Austin Peay to 99 yards through the air and forced two turnovers, including a pick-six by Thomas Owens late in the second quarter that broke the game open before halftime.
EKU drew first blood with a 28-yard field goal from Lucas Williams to go up 3-0. Junior Devin Borders then blocked an Austin Peay punt to set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Coney to Joel Brown, making it 10-0 with 6:52 left in the first quarter.
After a pair of Williams field goals, Austin Peay got on the board when quarterback Trey Taylor ran it in from the one-yard line to make it 16-7 midway through the second quarter.
That would be as close as the Govs would get, though, as Eastern used a pick-six from Owens and a nine-yard touchdown run from Thomas to extend its lead to 30-7 at halftime.
EKU slowly put the game out of reach with three third-quarter touchdowns. Lane got in on the scoring with a six-yard touchdown run with 12:42 left in the third quarter. Thomas got his second touchdown of the game with an eight-yard run midway through the third quarter. Kyle Romano came in at quarterback and, on his first drive, threw a six-yard touchdown to Taylor Miller.
Austin Peay scored late in the fourth to make it 51-13 on a Kendall Morris five-yard run.
Thomas and the Colonels (2-1) return to action on Saturday, October 3, at Kentucky, while Birchfield and the Governors will host Eastern Illinois on Saturday, October 3.
Photo Courtesy of EKUSports.com.