OVC Recaps and Weekly Preview, Week of 11/13/2022

HESS’ HISTORIC DAY FUELS SEMO’S 42-0 ROUT OF TIGERS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was only a matter of time before Geno Hess put his name atop the record book at Southeast Missouri State University. And he did so in a resounding way as the Redhawks rolled over Tennessee State 42-0 on Nov. 5 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

It was the time since 1997 SEMO had blanked a conference opponent when the Redhawks downed Austin Peay 31-0.

The win improved the 20th-ranked Redhawks to 3-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and upped their record to 7-2 overall on the season. Tennessee State dropped to 2-2 in the league on 3-6 on the year with the loss.

Hess became the school’s all-time rushing lead on a nine-yard carry early in the first quarter and went on to finish the game with 136 yards and three touchdowns. He surpassed the previous record of 3,392 career yards held by Kelvin Anderson, which was set 28 years ago.

Hess, who ran for 106 yards in the first half against the Tigers, now has 3,475 yards in his SEMO career.

Hess ran 44 yards to put his team in front 7-0 just 2:34 into the contest. SEMO added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on the way to building a 21-0 lead at the intermission.

Damoriea Vick hauled in a pass from quarterback Paxton DeLaurent that covered nine yards and Hess scored again on a six-yard run with 3:18 remaining in the first half to allow the Redhawks to build their comfortable halftime advantage.

TSU’s bid to get on the scoreboard before halftime came up short when the Tigers missed a field goal from 28 yards out and preserving the Redhawks’ shutout.

Hess, who ran for 106 yards in the first half, broke loose for a 24-yard gain to the TSU-5 early in the second half. He scored two plays later from three yards away for his final score of the day.

Darrell Smith and Keveon Robbins closed out the scoring for the Redhawks in the fourth quarter. Smith scampered in from 56 yards away and Robbins ran 20 yards for the final touchdown of the game for SEMO. It was the first career TD for both Smith and Robbins.

DeLaurent was nearly flawless in throwing the football against the Tigers. He completed 13 of his 14 pass attempts and finished the game with 138 yards and the one touchdown. Vick was on the receiving end of five of DeLaurent’s completions and finished with 46 yards in the game.

Behind Hess’ record-breaking performance, the Redhawks ran the ball efficiently the entire game against TSU as six players combined for 310 yards on the ground as SEMO averaged 7.2 yards per carry in the contest.

Smith finished with 74 yards on just four carries and averaged 18.5 yards rushing, while Robbins carried the ball six times for 51 yards (8.5 ypc). Hess was not far behind by averaging 7.6 yards on his 18 carries in the game.

Bryce Norman led the way for the Redhawks on defense as he recorded 12 total tackles in the game and tallied a pair of QB hurries. SEMO had three sacks in the game along with eight tackles for loss.

Tennessee State could only muster 292 yards of offense in the game. Quarterback Draylen Ellis was held to just 104 yards through the air as the SEMO defense allowed him to complete just 14 of 35 passes in the contest.

Devon Starling and Jalen Rouse led the Tigers in rushing by combining to pick up 115 of the team’s 152 yards on the ground. Starling finished with 64 yards on 15 carries, while Rouse chipped in with 51 yards on nine totes of the ball.

LATE DEFENSIVE STAND PRESERVES TECH TRIUMPH

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech has had plenty of memorable games throughout the history of football at the school. Few have been as nail-biting as Tennessee Tech’s Homecoming victory over visiting Lindenwood on Nov. 4.

Tech linebacker Josh Reliford managed to bat down a pass in the end zone on a two-conversion attempt with 14 seconds remaining in the game to thwart Lindenwood’s comeback effort as the Golden Eagles won 35-34 to improve to 2-3 in conference play and 3-6 on the season. Lindenwood, meanwhile, fell to 1-3 in the OVC with the loss and is now 6-3 on the season. All three of its losses have come as the Lions are competing in the Ohio Valley Conference for the first time this season.

Trailing 35-28, Lindenwood QB Cade Brister, despite being sacked twice on the final drive, engineered an 18-play, 75-yard drive that was highlighted, at least for a moment, when he found tight end Chase Lanckriet for a 10-yard scoring pass to set the stage for the dramatic finish to the game.

But it wasn’t just Lindenwood’s offense that was impressive on the day as Tennessee Tech also found itself having to overcome a seven-point deficit late in the first half and had to answer three times after the Lions had tied the game.

Tech got on the board first when David Gist caught a pass from Jeremiah Oatsvall and turned it into an 11-yard scoring play that put the Golden Eagles in front 7-0 with just three seconds remaining in the first period following the conversion kick by Devin Parker.

The visitors tied the game a short time later when Brister connected with Payton Rose from 37 yards out at the 13:16 mark of the second quarter.

Gist put Tech back in front with an electrifying 71-yard scamper to cap a 96-yard drive in just six plays.

The Lions controlled the rest of the first half by tacking on a pair of touchdowns to take a 21-14 lead at the intermission.

Brister’s 29-yard TD pass to Kobe Smith knotted the score at 14-14 with 3:29 left to go before halftime and Brister continued to go the aerial route less than two minutes later. This time he connected Rose for a 40-yard scoring toss the gave Lindenwood its first lead of the game.

Tennessee Tech repeated Lindenwood’s feat of scoring the next two times the Golden Eagles had the ball in their possession. Oatsvall got things going with a 47-yard run to paydirt that tied the game 21-21 as Tech drove 78 yards in seven plays to open the second half to knot things up at 21-21.

O.J. Ross got into the act a short time later when he ran in from three yards out to give the lead back to the Golden Eagles at 28-21 midway through the third quarter. 

Lindenwood tied the game a final time just before the end of the third quarter when Brister and Lanckriet hooked up for a 23-yard scoring play that tied the contest 28-28 with just six seconds remaining in the period and the outcome of the game remained in doubt until Oatsvall carried the ball in from one yard out to cap a 10-play drive that covered 74 yards in just under five minutes. The TD put Tech in front 35-28 with 6:36 left in regulation and set the stage for what transpired in the waning seconds of the contest.

Tech finished the game with 553 yards of total offense, including 303 yards on the ground. It marked the first time since 2013 in a game against Cumberland that the Golden Eagles had amassed more than 300 rushing yards in a game.

Gist did plenty of damage running the football. He rushed eight times and finished with 100 yards (12.5 ypc) in the game.

His 71-yard run for a TD moved him into a tie for the 19th longest run in school history and his 100 yards marked the eighth 100-yard game of his career and moved him into sixth place on the school’s all-time charts in that category. He also moved into sixth place on the TTU rushing yardage list and now has 2,302 yards and needs just 13 yards to surpass Jason Ballard, who is fifth with 2,315 yards.

Oatsvall, meanwhile, added 81 yards on 11 rushes in the game and completed 18 of his 27 passes for 194 yards and the one touchdown pass.

The Tennessee Tech defense established a new school record by sacking Brister 10 times in the game. Jacorrian Wrenn was credited with 2.5 of those sacks and eight other players were also in on bringing Brister down during the contest.

Brister still managed to complete 24 of 33 passes for 303 yards and five TDs in the game. He was credited with 49 rushing yards on 27 carries and teammate Rhodes picked up 43 yards in nine carries for the Lions, who were held to just 106 yards on the ground.

Rose led the Lions with 102 yards receiving in the game on just three receptions, while Smith ended with a team-high seven catches for 74 yards and Jalen Bethany added 64 yards on five catches on the day.

VISITING OWLS STUN SKYHAWKS

MARTIN, Tenn. – Ohio Valley Conference co-leader UT Martin found itself trailing by 14 points in the first half, but fought back to take the lead.

But in the end, Kennesaw State proved to be too much for the No. 15-ranked Skyhawks as KSU posted a 44-27 non-conference win on Nov. 4 at Hardy M. Graham Stadium. The loss dropped UTM to 5-4 overall on the season. Kennesaw State, which competes in the ASUN, improved to 5-4 overall on the year with the victory.

The loss, the first to an FCS opponent since a loss to then-No. 2 Missouri State in the second week of the season, snapped a nine-game home winning streak by the Skyhawks dating back to the spring season of 2021.

After finding themselves trailing 17-3 in the first half, UTM put together three quick scoring drives to overtake the Owls.

Quarterback Dresser Winn got the ball rolling when he hit Colton Dowell for an eight-yard scoring strike and running back Zak Wallace scampered in from 21 yards out to add to the late excitement of the first half. It reached an exclamation point a short time later when Winn connected with DJ Nelson, this one from 16 yards away that put the Skyhawks in front 24-17 at the intermission.

A 26-yard field goal off the foot of Tyler Larco midway through the third quarter extended the UTM advantage to 27-17.

The Owls dominated from that point by outscoring the the Skyhawks 27-0 to close the game. Chance Gamble returned an interception 89 yards on the game’s final play to balloon the KSU scoring output.

The loss dampened the defensive performance by UTM’s Rob Hicks. The graduate transfer linebacker tallied 26 tackles in the game, including eight solo tackles. The 26 total tackles established a new UTM Division 1 record and the third most in program history. 

Teammate Daylan Dotson, the national defensive player of the week the previous week, also had a big game with 14 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Graduate safety Ty Woods chipped in with a career-high 10 tackles in the game for the Skyhawks.

Winn finished the game with 28 completions on 46 passes for 286 yards and the two touchdowns. He was intercepted five times on the day. DeVonte Tanksley was on the receiving end of 10 passes for 75 yards. Wallace, meanwhile, carried 13 times in the game for 101 yards.

Xavier Shepherd paced the Owls with five touchdowns in the game, including three on the ground. He scored on runs of 1, 5 and 2 yards and added two touchdown passes that covered 32 and 61 yards.

COWBOYS USE TWO DEFENSIVE STANDS TO HOLD OFF VISITING PANTHERS 29-15

LAKE CHARLES, La. – Homestanding McNeese State managed to build a 19-7 halftime lead, but the Cowboys needed to rely on a pair of defensive stops that proved to be the difference as MSU got past Eastern Illinois 29-15 in a non-conference clash on Nov. 4.

The loss dropped EIU to 2-7 on the season. McNeese State improved to 2-7 on the season with the victory.

Deonta McMahon rushed for 117 yards in the first half and also tossed a 33-yard scoring pass to Jon McCall late in the first quarter for the game’s first touchdown.

The Panthers narrowed the deficit to 10-7 on the next drive when Dom Shoffner connected with Jay Vallie for a 26-yard touchdown.

Ryan Roberts’ 32-yard TD pass to Mason Pierce and a pair of field goals from Garrison Smith accounted for the other points of the first half for the Cowboys.

The first key stop on defense for the Cowboys came in the second quarter when they stopped EIU on a fourth and short. The MSU special teams also shined by blocking a field goal attempt on EIU’s first possession of the second half to keep the score at 19-7.

McNeese capitalized on the missed field goal by moving down the field before McMahon scampered in from three yards out to extend the lead to 26-7 with 3:40 remaining in the third period. Pierce added his third field goal of the game with 5:55 to go to close out the scoring for the Cowboys, who held a 29-7 lead at the time.

Eastern Illinois, which had another fourth and short play come up short in the third quarter, got a 19-yard scoring pass from Shoffner to Justin Bowick with 3:13 to go in the game and the Panthers tacked on a two-point conversion when Cooper Willman connected with Nile Hill to close the scoring.

Shoffner, making his first collegiate start, passed for 187 yards on 17 of 30 passing and added a team-high 66 rushing yards in the game for the Panthers. Willman led the Panthers in receiving with 82 yards on seven catches, while Vallie finished with 63 yards on four receptions.

Roberts finished with 13 completions on 30 pass attempts for 177 yards and Pierce tallied eight catches for 145 yards for the Cowboys.

Current OVC Standings

OVC All

1 – SE Missouri 3-0 7-2
      UT Martin 3-0 5-4
3 – Tennessee State 2-2 3-6
4 – Tennessee Tech 2-3 3-6
5 – Eastern Illinois 1-2 2-7
6 – Lindenwood 1-3 6-3
      Murray State 1-3 1-8

This Week’s Games

2:00 pm
Hunter Stadium

McKendree at Lindenwood

TV/Streaming: ESPN+
2:00 pm
Roy Stewart Stadium

Robert Morris at Murray State

TV/Streaming: ESPN3
5:00 pm
Braly Stadium

Tennessee Tech at North Alabama

TV/Streaming: ESPN+
5:00 pm
Nissan Stadium

UT Martin at Tennessee State

TV/Streaming: ESPN+

Last Week’s Results

Nov. 5

44 - 27
Graham Stadium

Kennesaw State 44, UT Martin 27

Highlights: Available
34 - 35
Tucker Stadium

Tennessee Tech 35, Lindenwood 34

Highlights: Available
15 - 29
Cowboy Stadium

McNeese 29, Eastern Illinois 15

Highlights: Available

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