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2020 West Virginia Opponent Preview: Eastern Kentucky Colonels

We’re beginning our season preview series with a look at the Mountaineers’ first opponent of this weird 2020 season

Eastern Kentucky v Kentucky

We begin our 2020 previews for the West Virginia Mountaineers. It has been a long, weird journey with the March shutdown, no camp activites, masks, social distancing and everything in between. There were times where it looked like football would not be played, especially when the Big Ten and Pac-12 shutdown and decided no fall sports would happen.

But here we are. It’s late August and the Mountaineers are only two weeks away from starting their 2020 season. The first team on the list is the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.

The Colonels went 7-5 last season in the Ohio Valley Conference, a FCS division. They didn’t make the playoffs but featured one of the best rushing attacks in the OVC with senior running back, Daryl McClesky. The Colonels leaned on McClesky as they protected first year starter Parker McKinney, who threw for 1,371 yards and 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. The offensive line is experienced and gelled at the end of the season.

On defense, the Colonels were stingy, allowing only 22 points per game. Linebacker Steven Crowder returns after accumulating 63 tackles last season. They also return cornerback Daulson Fitzpatrick who had two sacks and three interceptions, Josh Hayes and Joseph Sayles.

Key Losses

Senior running back Daryl McClesky, who ran for 1,238 yards

Defensive end Aaron Patrick

RB Alonzo Booth - 673 yards and 14 touchdowns

QB Parker McKinney - 1,371 yards, 7 touchdowns

WR Keylon Dixon - 497 yards

LB Steven Crowder, 63 tackles and 2 sacks

DB Daulson Fitzpatrick - 2 sacks and 3 picks

Prediction

FCS games are pay-for-victory games. The Mountaineers pay the opponent so they come to us, the ‘Eers collect the gate and come away with a win. A great day, we win convincingly and all of the players get to play. Starters are rested by halftime, reserves get valuable playing time and no one gets hurt. Good days, you walk away with a victory and the ability to tell the team they aren’t as good as they think so you have work to do. A bad day you barely win, like the Mountaineers did as they hung on to beat JMU 20-13. A really bad day, you become Michigan-Appalachian State 2007.

The Mountaineers will be better in 2020. I believe it. No reason to think they won’t be able to win this game and win comfortably. Jarret Doege brought an energy to the team last year and Neal Brown is no longer a new head coach for the Mountaineers.

Mountaineers 35 - Colonels 14