The week is over and while half played Thursday, the games that made our hearts raced were played on Saturday. The week started with three teams with a zero in the conference loss column and ended with two still perfect.
Eastern Illinois romps Austin Peay 63-7
When previewing this game, I told you it was the best offensive team in the entire FCS against the FCS’s worst offense. The game was just that but we saw starters for Eastern Illinois go even into the fourth quarter making us question why?
EIU Head Coach Dino Babers didn’t change his playcalling at all, going for two to make it 35-0 and even running a fake punt with the game well in hand. Enough with the rant, and to the game.
Walter Payton candidates Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora put on a show, with the the quarterback finding his wide receiver just five times. Those five plays turned into 133 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a 66 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the score 63-7. Garoppolo finished the game with over 300 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively the Panthers forced three Governor fumbles, recovering them all. While the stats will show that they allowed over 300 yards to the last place Govs, there isn’t much to be concerned about.
As for Austin Peay, Head Coach Kirby Cannon put in backup quarterback Jacob Sexton on the teams third offensive drive. The drive before ended with starter Andrew Spivey fumbling leading us to wonder if there is a quarterback battle in Clarksville. In a postgame interview with The Leaf Chronicle, Cannon said he and his staff will evaluate the tape and see where they go in the future. The offense seemed to moved a bit better with Sexton taking the snaps, with Sexton going 9 of 16 for 90 yards.
In positive news, the game was their best performance (statistically) running for 158 yards and getting a score from senior running back Tim Phillips. The three quarterback system (yes all three played again) combined for 151 yards and no interceptions.
Defensively the Govs were short handed on the defensive line as the senior starting line.
UT Martin defeats Tennessee Tech 28-17
ZW: Thursday night’s game between UT Martin and Tennessee Tech was a sloppy match for both squads but the result was a bounce back win for the Skyhawks. Both teams struggled to protect the ball and combined for seven total turnovers. Jarod Neal started in relief of an injured Dylan Favre and produced early to give UTM momentum. Led by D.J. McNeil, UT Martin ran away with the game in the second quarter and never looked back. McNeil finished the game with 168 yards on 24 touches, reaching the end zone once.
Golden Eagles wide receiver Cody Matthews had a big night, catching seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Four turnovers led to the Golden Eagles’ demise. The TTU defense shut out the Skyhawks in the second half in large part due to Marty Jones’s effort. The junior out of Cincinnati made fourteen tackles and recovered a fumble. Coach Watson Brown can build on the second half’s successes and continue to make improvements to the defense.
Next week, UT Martin hosts rival Tennessee State, and Tennessee Tech travels to Eastern Kentucky. UT Martin had more trouble in this game than expected, but a win is a win. As long as the Skyhawks win the turnover battle, they will continue to move up in the OVC standings.
SEMO gets first victory in triple overtime against Murray State
With four minutes remaining and the ball in the Redhawk redzone and a seven point lead, it seemed the Racers were going to leave Cape Girardeau with a come from behind victory. Two mistakes by Murray State quarterback Maikhail Miller changed all that as Southeast Missouri won their first game on the season.
The Racers had just earned their first turnover of the game late in the fourth quarter as cornerback Josh Manning picked off quarterback Scott Lathrop. With the Racers having scored on three straight possessions to overcome a 20-6 deficit, it seemed momentum was against the Redhawks. Miller on second down was almost picked off by the Redhawks and followed it up with a pass to the same area of the field that was caught by SEMO.
Lathrop drove the field with four minutes remaining and throw a jump ball to sophomore receiver Paul McRoberts who caught it with just his left hand in the corner of the endzone with 48 seconds remaining.
In overtime, both teams would score on their first possessions to make the score 34-34 as Miller found Walter Powell for a 19 yard touchdown and Lathrop found McRoberts on a third and 12. In the second overtime period things got interesting once again. Lathrop would throw across the middle and be intercepted by Murray State defensive back Darrell Smith. The Racers would go conservative and run the ball to set up a game-winning field goal. On third down Miller would run up the middle and the Redhawks would strip the QB to force a third overtime.
In the final frame, Murray State would stall out and miss a 42 yard field goal attempt. SEMO would not, as they made just their second field goal of the season to get their first win.
Tennessee State sacks Jacksonville State 31-15