Eastern Kentucky FCS Football 2012 Playoff Capsule

Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Ohio Valley


Eastern Kentucky managed to squeeze into the FCS Playoffs after finishing the season with an 8-3 overall record. They ended the season a week before most other teams and really had to sweat it out for eight days. The Colonels suffered two conference losses to go along with their non-conference loss to Purdue. But the OVC was really balanced and tough this year and there is no shame in losing at Tennessee State and against Eastern Illinois. Wins over teams like Coastal Carolina, Tennessee-Martin and Murray State made up for those losses in the eyes of the selection committee.

2012 Record: 8-3, 6-2
Coach: Dean Hood

Big Wins: 9/29 at Tennessee-Martin (28-16), 11/10 Murray State (55-24)
Bad Losses: 10/6 at Tennessee State (20-23), 10/27 Eastern Illinois (7-24)

The Colonels made the playoffs in part because of their defense. And if they are going to advance, it will need to be because of the defense. The pass defense did allow over 254 yards per game through the air, but that is actually pretty good by OVC standards. Safety Brandon Stanley is the team’s best tackler and fellow safety Brooklyn Fox picked off six passes during the regular season. Cornerbacks Justin Bell and Cejay Ceniza have been tested often this year, but the senior duo was up for the challenge. The rush defense ranks in the top ten in the nation. The safeties versatility to come up and help out against the run is a big bonus, but the Colonels also have linebackers Anthony Brown, Kevin Hamlin and Ichiro Vance to help out in that regard. The front four is led by defensive end Robert Knowles who posted a team high 5.0 sacks on the season. What the defense does best is force turnovers. In 11 games, EKU picked off 16 passes and recovered 12 fumbles. That is why Eastern Kentucky has the third best turnover margin in the nation.

But in order to have a turnover margin that impressive, the offense must avoid them as well. And that is what quarterback T.J. Pryor has done. In 213 pass attempts the senior signal caller has thrown just three interceptions compared to 15 touchdowns. The passing offense is not prolific by OVC standards as Pryor threw for 1,929 yards during the regular season. But Pryor is a smart quarterback who can buy time with his mobility. The ground game has a star in running back Matt Denham. Denham broke the 1,000 yard plateau in 2012, ending up with 1,386 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. But this is an offense that can be stagnant at times. Sometimes simply avoiding turnovers is not enough and if the opposition can keep Denham under control, the passing attack may not be able to win games on their own.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Matt Denham, RB, 1,386 yards
Passing: T.J. Pryor, QB, 1,929 yards
Receiving: Tyrone Goard, WR, 900 yards
Tackles: Brandon Stanley, S, 81
Sacks: Robert Knowles, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Brooklyn Fox, S, 6

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 205.73 (19th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 220.09 (52, 7)
Total Offense: 425.83 (25, 5)
Scoring Offense: 31.27 (30, 6)
Rushing Defense: 108.18 (8, 1)
Pass Defense: 254.18 (101, 3)
Total Defense: 362.36 (49, 2)
Scoring Defense: 21.73 (34, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.73 (3, 1)
Sacks: 2.18 (43, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.55 (35, 5)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    First Round     Lost to James Madison
2008    First Round     Lost to Richmond
2007    First Round     Lost to Richmond
1997    First Round    Lost to Western Kentucky
1995    First Round    Lost to Montana
1994    First Round    Defeated Boston University
1994    Quarterfinals    Lost to Youngstown State
1993    First Round    Lost to Georgia Southern
1992    First Round    Lost to Marshall
1991    First Round    Defeated Appalachian State
1991    Quarterfinals    Defeated Middle Tennessee State
1991    Semifinals    Lost to Marshall
1990    First Round    Lost to Furman
1989    First Round    Lost to Youngstown State
1988    First Round    Defeated Massachusetts
1988    Quarterfinals    Defeated Western Kentucky
1988    Semifinals    Lost to Georgia Southern
1987    First Round    Defeated Western Kentucky
1987    Quarterfinals    Lost to Louisiana Monroe
1986    First Round    Defeated Furman
1986    Quarterfinals    Defeated Eastern Illinois
1986    Semifinals    Lost to Arkansas State
1984    First Round    Lost to Middle Tennessee State
1983    First Round    Lost to Boston University
1982    Quarterfinals    Defeated Idaho
1982    Semifinals    Defeated Tennessee State
1982    Championship    Defeated Delaware
1981    First Round    Defeated Delaware
1981    Semifinals    Defeated Boise State
1981    Championship    Lost to Idaho State
1980    First Round    Defeated Lehigh
1980    Championship    Lost to Boise State
1979    First Round    Defeated Nevada
1979    Championship    Defeated Lehigh

*all team stats through 11/10


Playoff Central