Ah football is back and boy did the opening night show it as three OVC schools started the season on the right foot. While two of the games were expected to be wins, and the scores scream blowout, it was the third win that could come up again later in the season. Here is your postgame:
UT Martin upsets #25 Chattanooga 31-21
The question coming into this game was could the team nail down a quarterback and after tonight we are in the same place as both Jarod Neal and Dylan Favre split reps with the latter filling up the stat sheet. Neal was the starter last night and in his first career start he only completed his first seven passes but the drive would end with a fumble by Abou Toure leaving a sour taste in the offense’s mouth.
The first touchdown of the year was setup by a Skyhawk interception by J’von Blackmon took the ball all the Chattanooga five yard line where D.J. McNeil would score the touchdown and lead at half 7-0.
In the second half the teams settled into the game and the offense came alive for both teams but it was the ground game of McNeil and Trent Garland that would take lead the Skyhawks to victory. The duo would combine for 250 yards, something that shocked even me, and two touchdowns are were joined by Favre who made it 14-0 on a 13-yard run.
Chattanooga would make a run, getting the score to 21-14 midway through the third quarter but the Skyhawks could answer with a field goal, a quick three and out, and a touchdown to seal the game.
Going forward we wonder who will be the quarterback for the Skyhawks, or will the team join a couple other teams in the league by going with a duo at the position. Neal was 10 of 15 for 79 yards and threw an interception, Favre was 9 of 12 for 83 yards and ran the ball 9 times for 37 yards. After the game head coach Jason Simpson said that both quarterbacks deserve to play and the team will continue to both for awhile.
#19 Eastern Kentucky handles Robert Morris 38-6
Jared McClain showed off to the rest of the conference last night that he is the man in Richmond this year, combining for four touchdowns in the Colonels win over Robert Morris.
McClain, who split time last year at the QB spot, would do it all by throwing, running and yes even catching the ball making a strong case for OVC Player of the Week. McClain would handle Robert Morris by going 16 for 21 for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a team high 12 rush attempts for 44 yards and another two scores. Just for fun, McClain would catch two passes pushing his total offense on the night to 232 yards.
The ground game the Colonels would finish with 207 yards with Jared Sanders and J.J. Jude getting at least 50 yards on the ground. The ground game was there as evident by the stats but almost every play there a was a new player joining McClain in the backfield showcasing the depth EKU has.
Defensively EKU held the Robert Morris to just 232 yards, holding the rushing attack of the Colonials to just 55 yards something Robert Morris’s offense needed to have a chance.
Southeast Missouri gets routed at Southeastern Louisiana 45-7
The only loss on the night for the conference and to be honest we weren’t surprised by the result, but the pure rout the Redhawks sustained was shocking.
Head Coach Tony Samuel said it was a tough night and he wasn’t kidding, as both sides of the ball struggled.
The defense would allow a touchdown just 90 seconds into the game, putting the Redhawks behind and things would get much better for the rest of the game. SELA’s quarterback, Oregon transfer Bryan Bennett, would finish the night with 169 yards through the air and 106 yards on the ground. The typically good pass defense was there but when it came to stopping the run it didn’t happen at all, 309 yards on the ground.
Offensively the Redhawks only score would happen at the end of the first quarter with Lennies McFerren taking it in from six yards making it a 14-7 deficit that would balloon to the final score. The return/first start for Kyle Snyder would result in what we saw last year from the Redhawks signal callers, under 100 yards passing.
Tennessee Tech scores 63 points
The Golden Eagles did what every school does in the opening week of a season when facing a lower division school, destroy them, and fill up the stat sheet and that’s what they did scoring 63 straight points.
Darian Stone was the leader of the TTU attacking tossing two touchdowns, and rushing for another two in the win over Cumberlands. The breakout performance came from Ladarius Vanlier whose second quarter was quite the sight. First a 52 yard run followed up by a 93 yard punt return for a touchdown, a new school record.
We didn’t really learn much about the Golden Eagles and next week doesn’t really help either taking a game at Wisconsin. It was a feel good, opening day home win for the fans and the team.
One interesting fact of the game was “a likely power surge” left the game clock and play clock not working, so the game could/should have ended way before it the game was officially done.