EKU and WKU renewed its old rivalry in Bowling Green on Saturday. As expected, the Toppers won the game but the 31-17 final score was much closer than most anticipated. In fact, Eastern’s defense was highly disruptive along the line-of-scrimmage by manufacturing 3 quarterback sacks and 9 tackles for loss. UCONN transfer quarterback Tim Boyle accounted for 92.7% of his EKU’s total offensive output. His top two receivers are talented transfers that stand 6’2 or taller. Let’s take a look at UK’s next opponent:
EKU earned 22 first downs compared to 20 for the Toppers. Its 345 total yards were mainly produced in the passing game as QB Tim Boyle completed 29 passes for 320-yards and 2 touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Boyle is one of many transfers on the roster and a highly capable signal caller. Below is Boyle’s bio from the official EKU Football website:
AS A JUNIOR IN 2015 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Played in 11 games, making five appearances at quarterback … threw for 281 yards and completed 31-of-60 pass attempts … started the final regular season game of the season against Temple (Nov. 28), going 12-for-20 for 121 yards … played from the mid-first quarter on in a win over nationally-ranked Houston, finishing 12-for-22 for 110 yards … also saw duty at end of Central Florida game (Oct. 10) and was 2-of-2 for seven yards … was also UConn’s holder.
AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2014 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Played in nine games at quarterback, starting the final three … finished the year 43-for-82 for 335 yards and a touchdown … tossed his first career touchdown, a career-long 39-yard connection, at Memphis (Nov. 29) … finished 12-for-24 for 160 yards in that game … completed 13-of-21 passes for 70 yards against Cincinnati (Nov. 22) … was 6-for-9 for 33 yards against Boise State (Sept. 13).
AS A FRESHMAN IN 2013 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Started four games at quarterback, seeing time in five games total … completed 59-of-133 passes for 621 yards … was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UConn since 2003 … made his first career start against South Florida (Oct. 12) and had a season-high 19 yard rush in the game … tossed for 310 yards on 22-of-39 passing in his second career game at Cincinnati (Oct. 19) … was 14-for-29 for 113 yards, including a season-best 36-yard completion, against No. 18 Louisville (Nov. 8).
A familiar name at running back paced the Colonels on the ground as Louisville transfer LJ Scott had 8 carries for 25 yards. Matter of fact, EKU only managed 25-yards rushing yards as a team. Based on its first outing, Eastern Kentucky is not a team that focuses on the run game.
6’2, 189-pound Fullerton College transfer Ryan Markush’s 7 receptions for 107-yards and 2 touchdowns were good enough to lead his team. He was joined by fellow WR Neiko Creamer’s 6 catches and 79-yards. Creamer’s a 6’3, 223-pound Tennessee transfer. 6’3, 253-pound TE Dan Paul also grabbed 5 passes for 47-yards against WKU.
The Colonels were dominant upfront against a FBS opponent as it racked up 3 sacks and 9 TFLs. Damon Lowe, Jeffrey Canady, and Eric Reed led the team in tackles with 6 a piece. 6’4, 223-pound senior Luder Jean Louis was disruptive as he totaled 4 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, and 1.5 TFL. He was joined in the disruptive category by 6’2, 229-pound DE Taquan Evans’ 3 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, and 1.5 TFL.
What does all this mean?
As you’ve probably gathered by this post, EKU’s depth chart relies heavily upon transfers. The Colonel defense was highly disruptive by producing 3 QB sacks and 9 tackles for loss. It possesses a quality quarterback in Tim Boyle who accounted for 92.7% of his team’s 345 total yards against Western Kentucky. There will be no secret to this week’s offensive game plan; throw, throw, and throw some more. Defensively, EKU will attack along the line-of-scrimmage in order to disrupt the Kentucky run game.
EKU had its shot for an upset in Lexington a couple of years ago. Earlier in the preseason I thought that their upset ship had sailed. However, it was competitive against WKU which could make things interesting on Saturday. Kentucky needs to find its offensive rhythm and rack up over 400 total yards after sputtering against Southern Miss. Matt House’s defense will get more work against a pass-first offense which is perfect with South Carolina looming on the schedule.