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UNA Lions lose 56-53 heartbreaker to Eastern Kentucky

Parker McKinney threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius McCoy with eight seconds remaining to give Eastern Kentucky a 56-53 over UNA

RICHMOND, Kentucky — With North Alabama holding a 53-49 lead with just over a minute left in the game, Eastern Kentucky drove 64 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with just eight seconds left to down the Lions 56-53.

UNA had trailed the majority of the second half before taking the lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Noah Walters to Takairee Kenebrew with 1:13 left in the game. A two-point conversion pass to Justin Luke then extended the lead to 53-49.

UNA is now 1-6 overall and 0-3 in ASUN Conference play.

North Alabama's offense scored a season-high 53 points and gained 571 yards with 356 yards on the ground. EKU had 468 total yards.

UNA sophomore running back ShunDerrick Powell rushed for 218 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns. He became the first player in UNA history to have three games with 200-plus rushing yard games in a season and career. He added 63 receiving yards for 281 all-purpose yards.

Walters was 17-of-26 passing for 215 yards and three touchdowns.

The North Alabama offense scored on its first two possessions of the game and scored 21 points in the first half, but the Lions' defense allowed five touchdowns to trail 35-21 at intermission.

UNA went 75 yards in seven plays on the game's opening possession for a touchdown. ShunDerrick Powell carried four times for 29 yards and quarterback Noah Walters scored the touchdown on an 18-yard run. Sam Contorno added the extra point to give the Lions a 7-0 lead at 12:01 of the first quarter.

EKU answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive of its own to tie the game. Cornelius McCoy pulled in a 37-yard pass from Parker McKinney at the 8:50 mark and Patrick Nations' PAT made it 7-7.

North Alabama covered 75 yards on 12 plays on its second possession. Powell carried for 46 yards on the drive and the touchdown came on a 10-yard pass from Walters to Demarcus Lacey. Contorno's kick put UNA back on top 14-7 with 3:05 left in the opening quarter.

EKU scored on the first play of the second quarter to tie the game again. Braedon Sloan scored on a one-yard run to make the game 14-14 at 14:57 of the second period.

UNA was stopped on its next offensive possession and the Colonels capitalized to take their first lead. McKinney scored on a three-yard run at 9:11 of the third quarter to give EKU a 21-14 lead.

After a misplayed kickoff return left UNA starting at its own two-yard line, the Lions were forced to punt and EKU extended its lead to two scores. Sloan caught an eight-yard pass from McKinney to make it 28-14 with 7:11 left in the half.

North Alabama bounced back with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive late in the half. Powell scored his 11th touchdown of the season on a nine-yard run and Contorno's PAT closed the gap to 28-21 with 2:55 to play in the second.

The Colonels would score again before the half, however, as Joeseph Sewell pulled in a 20-yard TD pass from McKinney to make it 35-21 with 1:00 remaining.

Powell rushed for 105 yards in the first half on 16 carries.

The North Alabama defense got a stop of the first series of the second half and the UNA offense responded with a quick score. Powell scored his second touchdown of the day on an eight-yard run to cap a 64-yard drive. The score at 9:01 of the third quarter pulled UNA back to within a touchdown at 35-28.


A one-yard TD dive by EKU's Joshua Carter made it 42-28 with 5:39 left in the third quarter.

The offense continued to keep the Lions in the game as Powell scored again from 39 yards with 1:37 left in the third quarter to make it 42-35.

North Alabama had the ball with a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter but had to settle for a 43-yard Sam Contorno field goal that made it 42-38.

EKU scored again on an 18-yard pass from McKinney to McCoy to push its lead to 11 at 49-38 with 8:47 left in the game.

North Alabama plays at Central Arkansas next Saturday.


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