#35 Eastern Kentucky FCS Football 2014 Preview

Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Overall Rank: #35
#4 Ohio Valley

Eastern Kentucky Team Page#35 Eastern Kentucky FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Eastern Kentucky Football Tickets

Eastern Kentucky had another disappointing season that ended with a thud. After a tough non-conference slate that included losses to Louisville and Coastal Carolina, it looked like the Colonels were ready to make a run in the Ohio Valley Conference. They fell at Eastern Illinois, which was no surprise, and then reeled off four wins in a row to reach a 6-3 record. But then came the trip to Jacksonville State and the Colonels lost 68-10. They never recovered and fell the next two weeks to Tennessee-Martin and Murray State and finished at 6-6.

2013 Record: 6-6, 4-4
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Dean Hood (40-29 at Eastern Kentucky, 40-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dane Damron
Defensive Coordinator: Tony Hatmaker

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: JJ Jude, RB, 637 yards
Passing: Jared McClain, QB, 1,535 yards
Receiving: Jeff Glover, WR, 420 yards
Tackles: Brandon Stanley, DB, 61
Sacks: Floyd Coffey, DL, 2.5
Interceptions: Johnny Joseph, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: LB Chris Owens, DL Marquise Piton

Key Losses: WR Devin Borders, DL David Carter, DL Anthony Brown, LB Tyler Horn, LB Ichiro Vance, OL Justin Meredith, OL Travon Carter, P Jordan Berry

As long as the ball is on the ground, Eastern Kentucky has looked good. Running back JJ Jude rushed for 637 yards last season and will be joined in the backfield by Kentucky transfer Joey Nussbaum. Nussbaum rushed for 300 yards on 43 carries last season and should be in for a good career in the OVC. Quarterback Jared McClain started 11 games in 2013, throwing for 1,535 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will have competition from Cincinnati transfer Bennie Coney. Coney was slated to be the starting quarterback for the Bearcats in 2013, but lost that job in the spring and ended up throwing just seven passes. Wide receiver Devin Borders had a fantastic freshman campaign, catching 34 passes for a team high 509 yards and six touchdowns. Jeff Glover is a big 6-4 receiver who tallied 420 receiving yards.

The defense allowed just 123.3 rushing yards per game last season and linemen Floyd Coffey and Marquise Piton hope to carry on that tradition. But that will not be too easy without linebackers Tyler Horn and Ichiro Vance. The pressure will be on Chris Owens to turn into a leader of the unit while new faces fill in around him. The secondary was one of the best in the OVC and Brandon Stanley is a very good safety and Johnny Joseph picked off two passes last season. Without a consistent pass rush from the front line though, the secondary will take a step back.

The Bottom Line:
Eastern Kentucky has a lot of potential this season if the defense balances out and the transfers on offense live up to their potential. But teams like Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State and Jacksonville State are sporting quality squads this season and there may not be enough playoff spots to go around for Eastern Kentucky.

Projected Postseason: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 198.7 (30th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 154.3 (108, 7)
Total Offense: 353.0 (78, 5)
Scoring Offense: 26.8 (61, 5)
Rushing Defense: 123.3 (19, 2)
Pass Defense: 244.8 (100, 9)
Total Defense: 368.2 (47, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.4 (53, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.20 (49, 5)
Sacks: 1.50 (97, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (59, 5)


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