April 16, 2016

(STATS) - A winning record isn't a down season for many college football programs, but 6-5 didn't sit well with Eastern Kentucky last season.

The Colonels hope they have put the pieces in place for a banner first season under coach Mark Elder.

They wrapped up spring practices Saturday when the Maroon team (defense) beat the White squad (offense), 35-33, in the annual game at Roy Kidd Stadium.

The Maroon scored its points based on four points for a takeaway, two points for a defensive stop and three points for holding the offense to three downs and forcing a punt. The White scored points based on seven points for a touchdown and three points for a field goal.

Elder had been on Butch Jones' staff for the past nine seasons at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and, most recently, Tennessee, where he was the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.

He is only the fourth EKU head coach in the last 50 years. The Colonels went 55-38 with two Ohio Valley Conference titles and three FCS playoff appearances in eight seasons under coach Dean Hood, who was fired after last season. During his tenure, they didn't win a playoff game in three appearances.

The EKU offense is expected to be strong behind senior quarterback Bennie Coney, but the defense has lost eight starters, including All-America defensive end Noah Spence, the OVC's co-defensive player of the year.

In the spring game, the Maroon's Thomas Owens had a game-high eight tackles. Defensive linemen Kagen Skidmore and Taquan Evans had two sacks each, and Corey Glass and Jordan Whitfield both had an interception. Whitfield's pick came with about three minutes left in the game.

Connecticut transfer Tim Boyle threw for 139 yards and two touchdowns for the White, while Coney passed for 66 yards in one quarter of action. Devin Borders caught four passes for 72 yards.

The Elder era will open when EKU visits Purdue on Sept. 3.

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