Eastern loses Homecoming game 33-6 to Eastern Kentucky


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News Eastern head coach Adam Cushing looks out on the field after a play during Eastern’s 40-29 loss to Tennessee Tech Sept. 28. Cushing said his team’s performance starts with him as a coach after Eastern’s 33-6 loss to Eastern kentucky Saturday at O’Brien Field.

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

The Eastern football team put up just 89 yards of offense, the second lowest number in program history, and fell to 0-9 this season losing to Eastern Kentucky 33-6 Oct. 26 at O’Brien Field.

Eastern head coach Adam Cushing said that Eastern’s 89-yard, six-point offensive performance was “probably the worst offensive output I have ever been a part of.”

Eastern’s 89-yards came on 58 plays, which when divided up, equates to about 1.5 yards per play. The Eastern offense had just 40 yards rushing and 49 yards passing, in a game where to say the offense struggled to move the ball would be an understatement.

“I am going to take it on my shoulders, everybody is going to want to point the finger at the offensive players or at the offensive coaches, but when the attitude of the program isn’t good enough then it has to start with me,” Cushing said. “That’s my responsibility and so we have to do a little better job of getting the right guys on the field at the right time and maybe continue to have as much competitive situations as we can at positions.”

Eastern’s offense has struggled this season to move the ball, but Saturday’s loss and offensive performance had the team almost unrecognizable to Cushing.

“I told the guys, ‘I don’t know who that football team was that just came out of the locker room, I have never seen them before,’” Cushing said. “We have been playing progressively better and we just quite frankly didn’t do anything well.”

Eastern’s inability to move the ball was prevalent from the team’s first drive of the game, and the lack of positive gains persisted up until Eastern’s last drive of the game, which resulted in the Panthers’ only touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Eastern was 0-of-15 on third down in the game and only made it into the red zone one time. The Panthers had 13 drives where they ran four or less plays before having to punt and had seven drives where they accumulated negative yardage.

The mood after the game was one of frustration.

“Devastation. Everybody is just frustrated,” Eastern linebacker Dytarious Johnson said. “Especially after those miscues on special teams and just getting short fields and we’re not moving the ball, it’s just a collective with the team, we’re just frustrated.”

Eastern’s offense’s inability to move the ball hampered Eastern’s defense, too, as the Colonels were frequently playing in short-field situations. The Colonels had eight drives begin in Eastern territory, which left them with easy chances to score.

Despite Eastern’s defense playing well and stopping Eastern Kentucky on multiple third downs, the short fields gave the Colonels ample opportunity to at least kick field goals. Five of the eight drives that began in Eastern territory resulted in Eastern Kentucky scores, four of which were field goals.

“We don’t think about it at the time, but it takes a toll on us at the end of the day,” Johnson said of the short fields. “It just sucks when we have to get on the field when we just came off, it’s part of football but we work hard for this. Since the coaches first got here we have been working hard for that day, for these plays for these moments so it’s something we have to deal with.”

Eastern’s 89 yards of offense may, believe it or not, paint an even sunnier picture than what the offense looked like.

Of Eastern’s 89 yards, 69 of them came during the final drive of the game, which resulted in an Eastern touchdown. Prior to that drive however, Easter had mustered just 20 yards of offense in almost 55 minutes of game play.

Eastern will have to simmer on this loss for an extra week, as it heads into its bye week.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].