Its the final month of OVC football, and while most teams are out of the hunt for the championship rings, now is the time for a team or teams to spoil it for the contenders.
Here is your first word for Saturday’s action:
Tennessee State 8-1 (4-1) @ Murray State 3-5 (2-3)
11 a.m. Fox College Sports
Michael German and the one loss Tigers will come into Stewart Stadium as favorites looking to keep their shot at the title alive as they face off against Casey Brockman and the Racers. The Tigers will look to run the ball a lot with the 2nd productive back in the nation, Trabis Ward, and keep the fast pace Racers off the field just like Jacksonville State did last week. The Tigers are still looking into whether cornerback Stephen Godbolt III will be available after being knocked out (concussion) last week against Tennessee Tech. The Racers will continue to use their shotgun formation for the majority of their plays and like to run out of it with the duel backs of Jamaal Berry and Duane Brady. If the Racers can get in a rhythm early it could be interesting to see how the Tigers react on the road. Then again the Tigers are a 4th quarter team, outscoring opponents 85 to 31. Will be a great game surely for the national audience.
Eastern Illinois 5-3 (4-1) @ Tennessee Tech 2-6 (0-5)
1:30 p.m. OVC Digital Network
One of the most intriguing match ups this weekend by far. These two teams have been complete opposites in terms of what we thought they were at the beginning of the season. Tennessee Tech still poses a threat to any team in the conference, but with Tre Lamb listed as week to week with an injury they will probably go with Darian Stone at the position. With Lamb out, this team has become a ground team which is very different from what they really want to do. Eastern Illinois comes in with alot of confidence with its defense only allowing Eastern Kentucky 7 points in Richmond. The connection of Jimmy Garoppolo to Erik Lora has been very dangerous, accounting for 93 catches, 1226 yards and 10 touchdowns. They will look to exploit the secondary of the Golden Eagles which has been quite bad. Worth mentioning, the stadium will be quite full as it is homecoming in Cookeville.
Jacksonville State 5-3 (4-2) @ UT Martin 6-2 (4-1)
12 p.m. OVC Digital Network
This game is going to be a very quick game as both are possession oriented teams that like to establish a ground game before opening up the playbook for passes. While UT Martin has shown more confidence in their QB Derek Carr since the shootout win at Murray State, they will still look to control the clock by running with their three headed attack. Defensively the Skyhawks do very well, holding teams to about 26 points per game. For the Gamecocks the health of quarterback Marques Ivory is one of concern as he played on an injured hamstring that took away his usual burst on runs. Just like UT Martin, Jacksonville State likes to run the ball, but with one man Washaun Ealey who is coming off a three touchdown performance against Murray State. Number wise Jacksonville State doesn’t have a true way to beat them. They have yet to give up either 2000 in either category (rushing and passing) which will be interesting to see how the Skyhawks attack the Gamecocks. This game is defiantly worthy of being watched online and one we will be following as well. UT Martin as seen in our other report, truly controls their destiny for the title.
Eastern Kentucky 6-3 (4-2) @ Southeast Missouri 3-5 (2-3)
1 p.m. OVC Digital Network
The Colonels are coming off a tough loss to Eastern Illinois at their own stadium and make the trip to Cape Giradeau as they look to find some hope of fighting back into the championship picture. Lead by QB T.J. Pryor and RB Matt Denham, Eastern Kentucky will look to produce much more as they were humbled by the impressive performance last week. Defensibly they held their own and face a Redhawks offense that threw for just 36 yards against Austin Peay but had their QB, Scott Lathrop rush for 179. As for Southeast Missouri they look to continue the momentum after beating Austin Peay, which everyone has. The offense has been interesting to say the least this whole season, posting over 2000 yards on the ground and just 875 threw the air. However EKU boasts a great rush defense and thus the playaction game will be critical for the Redhawks to march down the field.
Culver-Stockton 1-8 @ Austin Peay 0-8 (0-6)
1:30pm OVC Digital Network
Well the good news is that this is a game Austin Peay should win. It shouldn’t be competitive at all. The Governors have had a very very rough season and it was expected though. A balanced attack lead by Jake Ryan who has thrown for just under 1400 yards 9 touchdowns the Govs have had a few bright spots. Defensibly its been rough when your facing such great offensives week in and week out. I expect them to shatter their highest point total for the season, which right now is last week’s 27points against SEMO and give up less than 30.