Thomas leads EKU to win over Birchfield, Govs



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.

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