OVC Recaps, Week 2: Drama Reigns Supreme Across OVC, 9/12/2022

After winning just one of six games in the opening week of play, Ohio Valley Conference teams fared better the second time around.

OVC newcomer Lindenwood scored perhaps the biggest triumph of the weekend when the Lions scored on a blocked kick in the closing seconds to escape with a 21-20 win over Houston Baptist.

The win gave Lindenwood its first win as a Division 1 member and its first win over a Division 1 foe in more than a decade.

Southeast Missouri and Tennessee Tech also came away victories last weekend.

On the flip side, UT Martin gave Missouri State all it could handle before falling to the Bears in Springfield, Mo.

The other two OVC teams, Eastern Illinois and Murray State, were soundly defeated and remained winless on the young season.

Skyhawks’ Bid for Signature Win Falls Short

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – UT Martin’s bid for one of the biggest wins in school history came up a little short as No. 5-ranked Missouri State as the Bears held on for a 35-30 win on Sept. 8 at Plaster Stadium.

The Skyhawks were looking for their second straight win in the series against Missouri State after having defeated the Bears 32-31 in year’s FCS Playoffs when MSU was ranked No. 10 in the nation.

The Skyhawks started out strong on the day by forcing the Bears into quick three-and-out on the first possession of the game. The UTM offense responded by taking the ball and marching 73 yards in just eight plays that took 2:53 off the clock to grab the early lead.

Quarterback Dresser Winn found Colton Dowell for a touchdown pass that covered 24 yards. Tyler Larco’s PAT kick put the Skyhawks in front 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.

UTM’s Zak Wallace later scored on a 15-yard run late in the second period and Larco’s kick tied the game at 14-14 with 2:45 remaining before halftime.

The Bears managed to take a 21-14 lead at halftime after Jason Shelley passed to Jacardia Wright on a play that covered 19 yards to push MSU in front 21-14 with just 35 seconds to go in the first half.

The Skyhawks regain the lead late in the third quarter by scoring 10 points in the period.

DJ Nelson caught a short pass from Dresser that covered five yards and Larco’s third PAT of the day tied the game for the third time at 21-21 with 9:48 to go in the quarter. Larco later connected on a 23-yard field goal that put the Skyhawks in front 24-21 with 1:16 remaining in the third period.

This time it was MSU’s turn to respond.

And respond the Bears did.

Shelley and Tyrone Scott hooked up for a pair of scoring passes in the final period that gave the lead back in favor of the Bears. The first scoring play covered seven yards with 10:09 left in the game that gave MSU a 28-24 advantage. A 22-yard pass to Scott with 4:37 remaining increased the advantage to 35-24.

Winn’s pass EJ Smoot for 14 yards pulled the Skyhawks to within 35-30 win 2:43 left in regulation, but a try at a two-point conversion pass failed and Missouri State managed to hold on for the win.

Dowell finished the game with 10 receptions for a career-high 159 yards and the one touchdown. His TD reception was one of seven catches on the day that went for at least 10 yards. He also became just the fourth player in UTM history to surpass 2,000 yards receiving in a career as he raised his career total to 2,019 yards. He also moved into a tie for ninth place with his 15th touchdown reception.

Dresser, meanwhile, finished with 344 passing yards on the day after completing 29 of 41 passes and three touchdowns against the Bears in just his second career start. Despite just starting two games in his career at UT Martin, Winn, a graduate student, moved into ninth place in school history in both passing yards (3,533) and passing touchdowns (25).

The Skyhawks, who amassed 429 yards of total offense in the game, were led on the ground by Zak Wallace, who carried 17 times for 76 yards and one touchdown on the day

Shelley finished the game with 297 passing yards on 19-of-24 passing and five touchdowns against the Skyhawks. Scott, whose 10-yard scoring catch in the second quarter put the Bears in front 14-7 at the time, finished the game with eight catches for 96 yards and the three scores. Jacardia Wright paced the Bears with 23 rushes for 120 yards. He was also on the receiving end of three passes from Shelley that covered 42 yards and one TD.

UT Martin will play at Boise State on Sept. 17. Missouri State, meanwhile, will make the short trip across the border to play at Arkansas that same night.

Blocked Kick Gives Lindenwood Historic Triumph

HOUSTON, Texas – Jalen Bethany and Andrew Martin, along with the rest of their Lindenwood teammates etched their names in Tiger lore as Lindenwood used a blocked punt with 28 seconds left in the game and turning it into a touchdown to give the Tigers a 21-20 win over Houston Baptist in their first game as an FCS member.

The hosts found themselves in front of the Tigers 20-15 with just over five minutes remaining and had appeared to be in a position to seal the win.

But Lindenwood’s defense clamped down and forced the Huskies to punt from deep in HBU territory.

That’s when Bethany sliced through a lane to block the punt, which was recovered by Martin in the end zone to provide the Lions with the game-winning points.

It was the first win for Lindenwood over an NCAA Division 1 foe since defeating Northern Colorado 22-20 in the season opener in 2011.

Lindenwood opened the game with a 41-yard field goal from Logan Seibert with 8:46 left in the opening period. He added another field goal, this one from 44 yards away, with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter to pull the Lions to within 7-6.

The kick came after Justin Fomby passed 29 yards to Brandon Walker with 7:33 to go in the first period to put the Huskies in front for the first time at 7-6 following the conversion kick from Alberto Arroyo.

The second period saw HBU pad its lead to 17-6 at the intermission.

Arroyo got things started with a 36-yard field goal early in the quarter and Fomby connected with Ismail Mahdi on a 17-yard scoring play with 1:27 remaining in the half.

Lindenwood answered on a four-yard run by Martin to allow the Lions to close to within 17-12 with 5:11 to play in the third quarter.

Arroyo extended the HBU advantage to 20-12 with a 41-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the period.

Seibert and the Lions managed to stay in contention when he nailed a 44-yard field goal just 52 seconds into the final period and setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

Quarterback Cade Brister completed 21 of his 33 passes for 181 yards in the game. Three players combined to catch 16 of those passes for 141 yards for the Lions in the game.

Kobe Smith led the way with six catches for 46 yards, while Chase Lanckreit and Spencer Redd each caught five passes for 51 and 44 yards, respectively, for the victors.

Robert Giaimo rushed 20 times for 108 yards to led the Lions in that department.

Fomby finished the game with 330 passing yards after he completed 25 of his 46 passes, including the two TD passes for the Huskies. His favorite target on the day was Karl Reynolds, who was on the receiving end of seven passes for 146 yards. 

Ismail Mahdi, who had team highs in rushes (21) and rushing yards (79), added five receptions for 66 yards in the game.

Lindenwood is scheduled to play host to NAIA Keiser University in its home opener on Saturday in St. Charles, Mo. and will open OVC play the following weekend when the Lions travel to take on UT Martin.

Houston Baptist, meanwhile, is idle this weekend and does not return to action until Sept. 24 at Texas State.

Golden Eagle Offense Rallies Late to Win 26-25

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The color, pageantry and excitement are what makes college football the spectacle it has become.

Oh, the excitement.

There was plenty of that as Tennessee Tech QB Jeremiah Oatsvall found Willie Miller for an eight-yard scoring play with just two seconds remaining on the clock to lift the Golden Eagles to a dramatic 26-25 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce on Sept. 10 at Tucker Stadium.

The game-winning play capped a 51-yard drive that began with 2:11 remaining in the game and TTU training 25-19.

Oatsvall completed passes to O.J. Ross and Metrius Fleming to advance the ball 11yards. Back-to-back penalties against the Golden Eagles only added to the drama.

On a first-and-30 situation, Oatsvall found Fleming for a 32-yard gain to the Lion-28.

Oatsvall then ran for consecutive four-yard gains before completing a seven-yard pass to David Gist and another seven-yard competion to Ashton Maples.

Maples, however, had the ball knocked loose, but teammate Nate Hodnett recovered to keep the Golden Eagle comeback hope alive with just six seconds left in the game.

Miller scored on the next play to give Tech, which scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, its only lead of the game.

Tech was its own worst enemy in the first half as the Lions intercepted Oatsvall two times in TTU’s first three drives and a pair of fumbles that were recovered by TAMU-Commerce, allowed the visitors to take an early lead.

Eric Rodriguez threw 37 yards to Andrew Armstrong and added a 20-yard scoring toss to B.J. Busbee a short time later to put the Lions in front 13-0 with 13:18 remaining in the opening half.

Tech outgained the Lions 454-386 in the game with those yards being nearly evenly split for the Golden Eagles. 

Oatsvall completed 20 of 26 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 20 times for 65 yards on the day. Gist, meanwhile, led the Golden Eagles in rushing with 67 yards on nine carries (7.4 ypc).

The dynamic duo of Miller and Fleming combined to catch nine passes for 168 yards in the game. Miller led the way with 93 yards on four catches, while Fleming hauled in five passes for 75 yards.

Rodriguez completed 14 of 22 passes for 169 yards and the two TDs for the Lions and added 80 yards rushing on 15 carries. He was injured in the second half and replaced by Ohio State transfer Jagger LaRoe, who completed five of his nine passes for 25 yards in the backup role.

Spencer Long led the Lions with 90 yards on 10 carries in the game.

Courtesy SEMO Ball

Newcomer Leads Redhawks Past Rival 34-31 to Regain Wheel

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Paxton DeLaurent is quickly making a name for himself at Southeast Missouri and in the Ohio Valley Conference. 

The transfer quarterback from threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, including a scoring toss to Damoriea Vick with 11 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Redhawks to a 34-31 victory over No. 17-ranked Southern Illinois on Sept. 10.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak to the Salukis and allowed SEMO to regain possession of the War for the Wheel trophy.

It was the 90th meeting between the two schools which are separated by just 45 miles.

DeLaurent, a transfer from Central Methodist, began the game-winning drive by completing a 28-yard pass to Ryan Flournoy to move the ball deep into SIU territory at the Saluki-23.

A pair of pass interference penalties against the Salukis, both on a fourth-down situation, gave new life to the Redhawks.

And SEMO made the best of those opportunities.

On the ensuing play following the second penalty to breathe new life into the comeback bid, DeLaurent found Vick open in the end zone for the game-winner.

Vick, a transfer from Missouri State, had played against SIU three times in his career and had been without a touchdown against the Saluki’s until notching the memorable score that gave his team the win.

Justin Long’s four-yard scoring run with 2:50 left in the game had put SIU in front 31-27 at the time before DeLaurent and the rest of the Redhawks went to work on the final drive.

DeLaurent, who completed passes to nine different receivers, completed 33 of his 44 pass attempts in the game. The 332 yards were the most by a SEMO quarterback since Daniel Santacaterina threw for 386 yards in a 2018 game against UT Martin.

Flournoy and King each surpassed the 100-yard receiving plateau for the Redhawks. Flournoy caught 10 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown in the game. Johnny King, meanwhile, caught a team-high 14 passes for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Geno Hess led SEMO on the ground with 65 yards on 19 carries.

SIU quarterback Nic Baker completed 20 of 36 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his scoring passes went to Avante Cox and covered 16 and six yards. Ro Elliott led the Salukis with 64 yards on the ground on just 10 carries.

The win over the nationally ranked Salukis was the eighth time SEMO has won over a ranked opponent in the tenure of coach Tom Matkewicz. The eight wins are the most by any coach in school history and three of Matikewicz’s four career wins of SIU have come in the final 25 seconds of the game.

Chattanooga Overcomes Early Deficit to Defeat Panthers 38-20

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois saw a narrow lead after the first quarter evaporate quickly as visiting Chattanooga scored a touchdown in the second quarter to take a 14-10 halftime lead and then outscore the Panthers 24-10 over the final half to come away with a 38-20 victory on Sept. 10 at O’Brien Field.

The No. 10-ranked Mocs improved to 2-0 win the win, while EIU lost for the second time in as many outings to start the 2022 season.

Stone Galloway connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the Panthers an early 3-0 lead in the game. The score capped a short drive that was set up on an interception by Colin Bohanek to put EIU in business. The Panthers, however, could only move the ball seven yards before relying on the foot of Galloway to give them the early advantage.

Chattanooga took the lead for the first time a short time later when Pre Hutchinson ran in from 20 yards out to give the Mocs a 7-3 lead with 6:17 to go in the opening period of play.

EIU regained the lead when Jonah O’Brien found Nile Hill for a 31-yard pass play with 26 second remaining in the first period to give the Panthers a 10-7 advantage at the time. It was the only catch in the game for Hill.

Ailym Ford’s four-yard scamper early in the second quarter moved the Mocs back in front 14-10. The play capped a 75-yard drive that took eight play and consumed just 2:54 seconds off the clock. 

Javin Whatley took a pass from Hutchinson and turned it into a 51-yard scoring play as Chattanooga increased its lead to 21-10 with 13:36 remaining in the third period.

Galloway added his second field goal of the game, this one from 44 yards out, to make the score 21-13 with 10:13 left in the period.

EIU managed to close to within 28-20 when O’Brien tossed 16 yards to DeAiriou Smith with 47 seconds left in the third period. It was the only catch for Smith in the game.

But it would be as close as the Panthers would get the rest of the way.

Andre Southard hit on a 45-yard field goal early in the final quarter and following an EIU turnover deep in its own territory, Hutchinson ran in four second later from 14 yards out with 4:32 to play to close out the scoring.

O’Brien finished the game with 183 yards through the air after completing 18 of 28 passes and the two touchdowns.

Markenzy Pierre paced the Panthers on the ground with 66 rushing yards after carrying the ball 17 yards, while Justin Thomas led the way with six receptions for 39 yards.

Hutchinson accounted for 342 yards of offense against the Panthers. He completed 17 of his 27 passes for 278 and one touchdown and added 64 rushing yards on six carries in the game. Ford paced the Mocs on the ground with 20 carries for 73 yards. Gin Appleberry added 56 yards on nine carries.

Eastern Illinois visits Illinois State on Saturday in the annual Mid-America Classic, while Chattanooga will entertain North Alabama in a Homecoming game before traveling to face Big Ten foe Illinois on Sept. 22 in Champaign.

Gamecocks Race Past Murray State 34-3

MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State was unable to make use of three turnovers by Jacksonville State as the Gamecocks scored a big 34-3 win over the Racers on Sept. 10 at Roy Stewart Stadium.

Quinaz Turner intercepted both passes for MSU.

Aaron Baum connected on a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter to account for the only points for the Racers.

For Baum, it was his 21st field goal in his career at Murray State and moves him into a tie for 10th on the school’s all-time field goal list. Baum is now 21-for-30 in his time with the Racers.

MSU quarterback Lucas Maue managed to complete just five of 18 passes and 55 yards against the Gamecocks. All five of his completions went to a different receiver. Maue also ran 11 times for 30 yards in the game.

Jawaun Northington led the Racers with 56 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Cortez Jones and LaMartez Brooks combined for 15 carries and 71 yards in the game. Jones ran seven times for 37 yard and Brooks added 34 yards on eight carries. 

Dylan Appleton led the MSU receivers with 37 yards in the game.

Jacksonville State, a former member of the Ohio Valley Conference, was led on offense by Zion Webb who completed 18 of 28 passes for 167 yards. 

Anwar Lewis had a team-high 184 rushing yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of one, 46 and 64 yards. Teammate Ron Wiggins had two carries for 88 yards, including an 83-yard journey into the end zone for the Gamecocks.

Murray State plays at Ball State on Saturday. The Cardinals, who compete in the Mid-American Conference, lost last weekend to Western Michigan by a score of 37-30. Jacksonville State, meanwhile, is scheduled to play Saturday at Tulsa.

Jackson State Takes Southern Heritage Classic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Despite holding Jackson State to a meager 142 yards rushing, Tennessee State’s offense found it difficult to get untracked as Jackson State defeated the Tigers 16-3 in the 33rd annual Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 10 at Liberty Stadium.

TSU got on the board first when Kaleb Mosley connected on a 34-yard field goal just five minutes into the contest.

It would be the only points in the game for Tennessee State.

The Jackson State offense did not fare much better as PK Alejandro Mata accounted for nine of the 16 points for JSU. He connected on field goals of 28, 27 and 30 yards in the game.

It was not until 2:20 remained in the game that either team found the end zone as JSU’s Willie Gaines scored after taking a pass from Shedeur Sanders and turned it into a 27-yard scoring pass to virtually seal the game for Jackson State.

TSU quarterback Draylon Ellis, under heavy pressure most of the day, completed just 10 of 24 passes for 139 yards in the game. He was sacked nine times.

Devon Starling led the Tigers with 70 yards on 18 carries, while Cam Wyche was the top pass catcher. He caught two passes for 53 yards.

Sanders completed 30 of 44 passes for 276 yards and the one touchdown.

Sy’vean Wilkerson rushed 15 times for 81 yards while Shane Hooker led the way in receiving with nine catches for 93 yards for Jackson State, which improved to 2-0 on the season with the victory.

Tennessee State will try to get into the win column when the Tigers travel to face Middle Tennessee on Saturday. Jackson State, the No. 13-ranked team in the country, will face Grambling on Saturday in Jackson, Miss.

OVC Standings

2022 OVC Standings

PosTeamWLConf WConf LPFPA

Last Week’s Results

30 - 35
Plaster Stadium

Missouri State 35, UT Martin 30

Highlights: Available
34 - 3
Roy Stewart Stadium

Jacksonville State 34, Murray State 3

Highlights: Available
16 - 3
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

Jackson State 16, Tennessee State 3

Highlights: Available
25 - 26
Tucker Stadium

Tennessee Tech 26, Texas A&M-Commerce 25

Highlights: Available

OVC Players of the Week

Offensive: Paxton DeLaurent, SE Missouri
Defensive: Tyrone Griffin, Lindenwood, John Ford, UT Martin
Specialist: Logan Seibert, Lindenwood, DC Pippin, SE Missouri
Newcomer: Paxton DeLaurent, SE Missouri

This Week’s Schedule

7 - 30
Albertsons Stadium

Boise State 30, UT Martin 7

Highlights: Available
33 - 28
Tucker Stadium

Samford 33,Tennessee Tech 28

Highlights: Available
6 - 49
Red Floyd Stadium

Middle Tennessee State 49, Tennessee State 6

Highlights: Available
7 - 35
Hancock Stadium

Illinois State 35, Eastern Illinois 7

Highlights: Available