OVC Football previews and predictions - 9/26/15

Murraysports.net

 

 

Shorter University Hawks (0-2, 0-0 Gulf South)

at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (1-2, 0-0 OVC)

Saturday, Sept. 26 1:00 p.m. CT

Houck Stadium (10,000) Cape Girardeau, Mo.

TV:............................................. OVCDigitalNetwork.com

Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=92699

Series Record:............................................. First meeting

Last Meeting:.............................................................. n/a

Phil Jones at Shorter:................................. 54-54 (11 yrs.)

Phil Jones Overall:.................................................. same

Tom Matukewicz at Southeast Missouri:............ 6-9 (2 yrs.)

Tom Matukewicz Overall:.................................. 7-9 (3 yrs.)

Shorter Last Week:.................. L, 18-10 at Kennesaw State

Southeast Missouri Last Week: L, 29-28 at #23 Indiana State

 GAME NOTES: Saturday marks the first all-time meeting between Southeast Missouri and Shorter University. The game begins a stretch where the Redhawks have two-straight and three of four games at Houck Stadium. Southeast is a perfect 15-0 all-time against non-Division I opponents in its FCS era.

SCOUTING SHORTER: Shorter University, located in Rome, Georgia, nearly claimed a victory over a FCS opponent last week when it pushed Kennesaw State to the limit before falling 18-10. Trailing 12-10 in the final minute, the Hawks lined up for a 37-yard field goal to win the game but a bad snap led to a KSU fumble recovery and a return for six points as time expired. The Shorter defense was able to limit Kennesaw State to no offensive touchdowns, despite allowing 231 rushing yards on the day. Quarterback Aaron Bryant completed 8-of-11 passes for 135 yards, but he was sacked four times and threw an interception. The Hawks rushing attack was limited to just 27 net rushing yards for the afternoon; on the season B.J. McCoy leads the team with an 80.5 yards/game rushing average. Defensively Zach Butts was named Gulf South Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after registering 16 tackles (15 solo) and forcing a fumble. He currently ranks fourth in Division II in tackles/game (15.5).

SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI: Southeast Missouri nearly pulled the upset of No. 23 ranked Indiana State, coming within a two-point conversion of netting its third win over a ranked opponent in the past two seasons. Trailing 21-7 entering the fourth quarter it was backup true freshman quarterback Dante Vandeven who ignited a spark in leading the Redhawks to three scoring drives over the final 9:29 of the game. The final came on a 26-yard pass to Paul McRoberts as the clock expired to pull the team to within a point. As it did on its prior possession (when it was successful), Southeast went for the two-point conversion and the victory but the pass sailed out of bounds as the team came up one point short. Vandeven was named OVC Newcomer of the Week and STATS National Freshman of the Week for his performance which included him completing 12-of-17 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 28 yards. McRoberts hauled in seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown on the day. After starting running back DeMichael Jackson left the game with an injury, newcomer Tremane McCullough picked up the slack and finished with a game-high 114 yard and a touchdown. The Southeast Missouri defense was tough against the Sycamores, netting a season-high five sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss. Linebacker Roper Garrett had a game-high 12 tackles, including 3.0 for loss and a sack. As a team the Redhawks rank second nationally in tackles-for-loss (9.3/game), sixth in turnover margin (+1.67/game), seventh in fumbles recovered (4) and passes intercepted (5) and 10th in sacks (3.33/game).

Massey Prediction - SEMO 34 Shorter 7

 

#1 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (2-1, 1-0 OVC)

at UT Martin Skyhawks (1-1, 0-0 OVC)

Saturday, Sept. 26 2:00 p.m. CT

Hardy M. Graham Stadium (7,500) Martin, Tenn.

TV:...................................................................... ESPN3

Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=96030

Series Record:..................... Jacksonville State leads 29-7

Last Meeting:......... Jacksonville State won 41-27 (10/5/13)

John Grass at Jacksonville State:................... 12-3 (2 yrs.)

John Grass Overall:................................................. same

Jason Simpson at UT Martin:..................... 59-46 (10 yrs.)

Jason Simpson Overall:........................................... same

Jacksonville State Last Week: W, 48-13 vs. Tennessee State

UT Martin Last Week:................................................. Idle

GAME NOTES: For the second-consecutive season the Jacksonville State and UT Martin game is included in the OVC Game of the Week package on ESPN3. A season ago then No. 8 Jacksonville State jumped out to a 21-7 halftime advantage on its way to a 38-14 win. Miles Jones rushed for 150 yard and a touchdown while Troymaine Pope added 91 yards and a score for the Gamecocks who rushed for 284 yards, which was 68 yards more than the entire UTM offense output for the day. The Skyhawks were limited to just 93 passes yards and 123 rushing yards as Trent Garland had 39 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Overall Jax State has won the last two and five of the last six in the series. JSU has won 13-straight regular season games against non-FBS opponents.

SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE STATE: Jacksonville State remained the No. 1 ranked FCS team with a convincing 48-13 victory over Tennessee State on Saturday in front of a JSU Stadium record crowd of 23,413. The Gamecocks limited TSU to just 24 net rushing yards of 31 attempts. JSU now ranks eighth nationally in total defense (268.3 yards/game) as well as ranking eighth in rushing offense (269.3 yards/game) after tallying 349 rushing yards against the Tigers. Quarterback Eli Jenkins led the team with 95 rushing yards (to go along with 162 passing yards and two touchdowns) while Troymaine Pope, who is eighth nationally in rushing (117.0 yards/game), added 93 yards. During the game Jenkins became the first player in JSU history to record 1,500 rushing yards and 3,000 passing yards in a career, while Pope needs just two rushing yards to move into 10th place on the Gamecocks career list. Josh Barge hauled in five passes for 55 yards and a score and became just the second receiver in JSU history to reach the 2,000-yard career receiving mark. Ruben Gonzalez added eight catches for 109 yards marking his second-straight game going over 100 yards receiving. Joel McCandless had nine tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry in the victory.

SCOUTING UT MARTIN: UT Martin is coming off a bye week, as the squad last played on Thursday, Sept. 10 when they welcomed Bethel to Hardy Graham Stadium. The Skyhawks offense struggled in the first quarter - leading just 7-3 after the opening 15 minutes - but rebounded to score 30 second quarter points on its way to the 72-10 victory. Sophomore Caylon Weathers caught five passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns; all three of the touchdowns came in the second quarter as he scored on receptions of 33, 11 and 13 yards. Weathers was one of 10 UTM receivers who caught a pass on the night. Senior quarterback Jarod Neal completed 18-of-27 passes for 249 yards and six touchdowns, which was just one score short of the school record; he played just three quarters, sitting out the final frame with the game well in hand. Senior kicker/punter Jackson Redditt was named OVC Specialist of the Week after making 10-of-10 PATs and averaging 48.0 yards on three punts. Defensively true freshman Kevin Prather, Jr. made his second career start and recorded a team-high 11 tackles. The Skyhawks played the home game in front of 6,418 fans, which was the largest home crowd since the 2008 season.

Massey Prediction - Jacksonville State 34 UT-Martin 24

 

Tennessee State Tigers (2-1, 0-1 OVC)

at Florida A&M Rattlers (0-3, 0-1 MEAC)

Saturday, Sept. 26 5:00 p.m. CT

Bragg Memorial Stadium (25,500) Tallahassee, Fla.

TV:.......................................................................... none

Live Stats:........................... http://www.famuathletics.com

Series Record:................... Tennessee State leads 28-25-1

Last Meeting:.............. Tennessee State won 27-7 (9/27/14)

Rod Reed at Tennessee State:...................... 34-28 (6 yrs.)

Rod Reed Overall:................................................... same

Alex Wood at Florida A&M:............................... 0-3 (1 yr.)

Alex Wood Overall:...................................... 25-27 (6 yrs.)

Tennessee State Last Week: L, 48-13 at #1 Jacksonville State

Florida A&M Last Week:..... L, 36-0 at South Carolina State

GAME NOTES: Rivals Tennessee State and Florida A&M will square off for the 55th time on Saturday in Tallahassee. The teams played for many years at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as part of the Atlanta Football Classic, playing 17 times in that event but after a year off in 2011; the teams rekindled the rivalry in the John Merritt Classic in Nashville in 2012 and have been playing on campus since. The Tigers lead the all-time series 28-25-1, having won the last four in the series including 27-7 a year ago in Nashville. In that contest the Tigers led 20-0 at halftime on its way to the 20-point victory. TSU had an interception return (Terrell Bonds) and a fumble return (Samquan Evans) for a touchdown in the game. Telvin Hooks was the only Tiger to score an offensive touchdown, rushing for 54 yards. Ronald Butler passed for 151 yards for TSU while his counterpart Damien Fleming had 113 passing and 30 rushing yards for FAMU.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Tennessee State suffered its first loss of the season in losing to No. 1 Jacksonville State 48-13 in front of a record crowd of 23,413 at JSU Stadium. The Tigers almost got on the board first as Ezra Robinson picked off a pass that he returned 83 yards for an apparent touchdown only to see a pair of penalties negate the long return. That left TSU and JSU scoreless after the first quarter, before Jax State exploded for 21 points in the second quarter on its way to the big win. The Tennessee State rushing attack had a tough time rushing against the powerful JSU defensive attack, netting just 24 yards on 31 carries with the TSU defense surrendered 349 yards on the ground to JSU.  Tigers starting quarterback O'Shay Ackerman-Carter took a hit early in the game and did not return to the contest. In his place Ronald Butler passed for 155 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was an 84-yarder to Patrick Smith which is the third longest passing play in the FCS this season (and was the sixth-longest play in TSU history); Smith has four touchdowns on the season, which ranks him 11th nationally. Although he did not return a punt in this game, Smith ranks ninth nationally in punt returns (17.2 yards/return) on the season. Rodney Edwards recovered his second fumble of the season which ranks him second nationally. As a team TSU is fifth in the FCS in fumbles recovered (5) in 2015.

SCOUTING FLORIDA A&M: Florida A&M is off to a 0-3 start under new head coach Alex Wood. Wood took over in Tallahassee after spending four years as the offensive coordinator at the University of Buffalo (including time as the interim head coach). Wood was also previously the head coach at James Madison from 1995-98. The Rattlers lost to FBS South Florida (51-3) to open the season before losses to FCS opponent Samford (58-21) and South Carolina State (36-0). FAMU currently ranks last (123rd) in the nation in total defense (644.3 yards/game allowed), 96th in total offense (281.0 yards/game) and 116th in scoring offense (8.0 points/game). Through three games quarterback Carson Royal has passed for 320 yards while Kenneth Coleman has passed for 177 yards. Devin Bowers is the team's leading rusher, averaging 72.0 yards/game. On defense Akil Blount and Kashawn Butler share the team lead with 23 tackles while Butler ranks first nationally with three fumble recoveries. Freshman punter Austin Rowley punted seven times for an average of 42.0 yards and a long of 51. 

Massey Prediction - Tennessee State 31 Florida A & M 20

 

Austin Peay Governors (0-3, 0-0 OVC)

at #18 Eastern Kentucky Colonels (1-1, 0-0 OVC)

Saturday, Sept. 26 5:00 p.m. CT

Roy Kidd Stadium (20,000) Richmond, Ky.

TV:................................................... OVC Digital Network

Live Stats:........ http://www.sidearmstats.com/eku/football/

Series Record:...................... Eastern Kentucky leads 42-5

Last Meeting:............ Eastern Kentucky won 31-0 (10/4/14)

Kirby Cannon at Austin Peay:......................... 1-26 (3 yrs.)

Kirby Cannon Overall:............................... 36-112 (14 yrs.)

Dean Hood at Eastern Kentucky:.................. 50-34 (8 yrs.)

Dean Hood Overall:................................................. same

Austin Peay Last Week:..................... L, 47-7 at Vanderbilt

Eastern Kentucky Last Week:..................................... Idle

GAME NOTES: Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay meet for the 48th time on Saturday night in Richmond. EKU has won the last three in the series and prior to a 2009 Austin Peay victory the Colonels had won 22-straight in the series. Both of the Governors recent wins in the series (2009 and 2011) came in Clarksville; the Govs have not win on Richmond since 1977. A season ago Eastern Kentucky won 31-0 in Clarksville behind a balanced offensive attack that saw 180 rushing and 174 passing yards. Dy'Shawn Mobley led the way with 55 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Austin Peay was limited to just 190 yards of offense as the EKU defense finished the contest with nine tackles-for-loss.

SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY: Austin Peay led FBS foe Vanderbilt 7-3 early in the second quarter and trailed only 19-7 at halftime before eventually falling by a 47-7 margin on Saturday. The loss was the 33rd-straight road loss for Austin Peay, the longest losing streak in Division I football. After Vandy got on the board with a first quarter field goal, Austin Peay would follow early in the second quarter after punting the ball away. Vanderbilt would fumble the punt and Juwan Davis came up with the ball at the VU 17-yard line. Three plays later Trey Taylor hooked up with Rashaan Coleman for a 14-yard touchdown. That marked Coleman's second touchdown of the season on just six total catches. Taylor finished the game with 110 passing yards on 18-of-32 pass attempts. For the third consecutive game the Govs were unable to reach triple digits as a team in rushing, managing just 34 net yards on 30 attempts. The team is currently 118th nationally in scoring offense (6.7 points/game) and 121 in total offense (192.3 yards/game). The Govs have taken care of the ball this year, not losing a fumble through three games.

SCOUTING EASTERN KENTUCKY: Eastern Kentucky had a week off since its 35-0 loss at FBS opponent NC State. That game marked the end of a streak of 101 consecutive games without being shutout (it had been the third-longest active streak in the OVC); prior to that game EKU hadn't failed to score in a game since the 2006 season (against Jacksonville State). Eastern Kentucky was limited to just 112 yards of total offense for the game including 35 yards on the ground. All-American Dy'Shawn Mobley was limited to 31 yards on seven carries. Quarterback Bennie Coney completed 5-of-19 passes for 79 yards. On the defensive side of the ball newcomer Noah Spence filled up the stat sheet with two tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery; Spence ranks second nationally in forced fumbles/game (1.0). Stanley Absanon added seven tackles for the Colonels. Punter Keith Wrzuszczak punted nine times against the Wolfpack, averaging 43 yards/punt; five of his punts went for longer than 50 yards. Devin Borders blocked a kick against NC State, the seventh blocked field goal and 11th overall blocked kick of his career; both are OVC records and he ranks third in NCAA FCS history in career blocked field goals (record is 10) and fifth in career blocked kicks (record is 17). Eastern Kentucky is ranked No. 18 in this week's STATS poll and No. 21 in the FCS Coaches poll. The Colonels have won 13-straight games following an open week.

Massey Prediction - Eastern Kentucky 35 Austin Peay 7

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-2, 0-0 OVC)

at Murray State Racers (1-2, 0-0 OVC)

Saturday, Sept. 26 6:00 p.m. CT

Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) Murray, Ky.

TV:........................................... American Sports Network

Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=91971

Series Record:.................... Tennessee Tech leads 42-37-1

Last Meeting:.... Tennessee Tech won 30-27 in OT (10/4/14)

Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech:................ 39-55 (9 yrs.)

Watson Brown Overall:......................... 133-206-1 (31 yrs.)

Mitch Stewart at Murray State:............................ 1-2 (1 yr.)

Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same

Tennessee Tech Last Week:............... W, 29-22 vs. Mercer

Murray State Last Week:....... L, 52-20 at Western Michigan

GAME NOTES: Tennessee Tech and Murray State bring identical 1-2 records in Saturday's Conference opener for both squads. The game is a matchup of the top two passing teams in the OVC. The two teams have played 80 previous times with Tech holding a 42-37-1 advantage in the all-time series. Murray State had won four in a row in the series until Tennessee Tech pulled out a 30-27 victory in overtime a season ago. That contest was a back-and-forth affair that saw the game tied at 3, 10, 17, 24 and 27, as John Arnold nailed a 41-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining to force the extra period. After MSU missed a field goal to begin the overtime period, Tech ran eight seven plays before Arnold connected on a 20-yard field goal to win the game; that marked Arnold's third field goal of the game as he earned OVC Specialist of the Week honors. TTU's Ladarius Vanlier had a 99-yard kickoff return for a score in the game while also rushing for 33 yards and catching three passes for 27 yards. Murray State's KD Humphries completed an OVC record 48 passes for 404 yards and a score; he connected with Jeremy Harness 19 times for 164 yards and a touchdown. Trey Thompson had 15 tackles to lead the Golden Eagles while Jonathan Jackson had 12 stops for the Racers.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE TECH: Tennessee Tech picked up its first victory of the season with a 29-22 come-from-behind victory over Mercer on Saturday. The Golden Eagles scored first and held a lead until late in the third quarter when Mercer surged ahead 22-21. But Tech would drive 77 yards in 12 plays and go ahead for good with 1:47 to play when Jared Davis connected with Krys Cates for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The duo also hooked up on the ensuing two-point conversion to account for the final score. Cates also scored the first touchdown of the game, a 74-yard reception, and was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week after snagging seven catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns (all of which were career-highs). The 197 receiving yards were the seventh-most in a game this season in the FCS, giving Tech two of the top seven receiving games in the country (Brock McCoin had 264 receiving yards the first week of the season). Davis, in his first year as the full-time starter, completed 18-of-26 passes for 301 yards and the two scores to Cates. Senior Tra'Darius Goff matched his career-high with 16 tackles while Jay Rudwall added 13 stops.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: Murray State dropped its second consecutive game to an FBS opponent, falling 52-20 at Western Michigan last Saturday. The Racers gained 367 yards of total offense against the Broncos but allowed 628 yards, including 237 on the ground. Quarterback KD Humphries completed 25-of-41 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 24 yards and an additional score. Humphries enters this week ranked second nationally in total passing yards (970, fourth in passing touchdowns (8), fifth in completions/game (27.0), sixth in passing yards/game (323.3) and eighth in total offense (336.0 yards/game). Jeremy Harness recorded his third-straight 100-plus yard receiving game, catching seven passes for 114 yards; Harness ranks fourth nationally in total receiving yards (375) and eighth in receiving yards/game (125.0). Junior newcomer Toby Omli had a season-high 15 tackles (the third-most by an OVC player in a game this season) in the game. Punter Landon Stratton was named OVC Specialist of the Week after punting five times for an average of 46.6 yards/punt. 

Massey Prediction - Tennessee Tech 37 Murray State 34