CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Zion Custis ran 12 yards for a touchdown with 37 seconds left and Southeast Missouri State turned back an upset bid by Eastern Kentucky 38-31 on Saturday.
The Redhawks (7-3, 5-1 Ohio Valley Conference), ranked 18th in the FCS Coaches poll, trailed 31-14 with 10:11 remaining in the third quarter before scoring 24 unanswered points.
The Colonels (5-5, 3-3) took a 7-0 lead on Daryl McCleskey Jr.’s 7-yard run, but Daniel Santacaterina connected with Kristian Wilkerson for a 68-yard scoring strike to pull SEMO even after one quarter. Samuel Hayworth’s 27-yard field put EKU up 10-7, but Santacaterina and Wilkerson hooked up for a 45-yard score and a 14-10 lead for the Redhawks. The Colonels scored two TDs in the final 5:45 of the second quarter — Parker McKinney’s 6-yard run and Alonzo Booth’s 12-yard run — to grab a 24-14 halftime lead.
Eastern Kentucky stretched its lead to 17 when Aaron Patrick sacked Santacaterina, forcing a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by Tre Turner.
From there it was all Redhawks. Santacaterina pulled SEMO within 10 points by the end of the third quarter with a 7-yard TD toss to Zack Smith. Custis pulled the Redhawks within 31-28 on a 4-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. Kendrick Tiller’s 40-yard field goal with 5:55 left to play knotted the score at 31 and set the stage for Custis’ second TD run.
Santacaterina completed 17 of 27 passes for 295 yards with three TDs and two interceptions. Wilkerson finished with a career-best 10 catches for 254 yards and two scores. Custis had 83 yards rushing on 16 carries and two TDs.
EKU’s Parker McKinney was 13-of-28 passing for 167 yards with two picks.