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Booth's 4 TDs carry E. Kentucky past W. Carolina 49-17
College football brief

Booth's 4 TDs carry E. Kentucky past W. Carolina 49-17

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RICHMOND, Ky. — Alonzo Booth ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns, caught another and Eastern Kentucky's four touchdowns in the fourth quarter sent it to a 49-17 win over Western Carolina on Saturday in the inaugural Opportunity Bowl.


Eastern Kentucky (3-6) scored three touchdowns in consecutive possessions with the longest drive lasting 46 seconds.

Up 21-10, wide receiver Jackson Beerman threw a 63-yard score to fellow receiver Jacquez Jones with 14:40 left. Following an interception, Booth ran it in from 6 yards, and 90 seconds later, and after forcing the Catamounts to a three-and-out, Isaiah Velez threw a 66-yard score to Beerman with 11:23 to go.

Ricky Palao scooped Velez' fumble on a Roman Johnson sack and ran 54 yards to give the Catamounts a 10-7 advantage with 11:40 left before halftime. The lead lasted a mere 14 seconds as Davion Ross returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for the lead. Velez threw a 69-yard touchdown to Booth to extend the margin to 21-10 four minutes later.

Will Jones threw for 127 yards, a touchdown and interception for the Catamounts (0-2). WCU freshman kicker Paxton Robertson nailed a career-long 52-yard field goal for the guests’ first points. Defensively, Aaron Gethers had a fumble recovery and an interception.

WCU returns to action at North Carolina on Dec. 5 to end its three-game nonconference fall schedule. Southern Conference play will start in March.

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