Recap – OVC Football – Week ending September 11th, 2021

UT Martin was the only Ohio Valley Conference team to snag a win in Week Two of the 2021 college football season.

The Skyhawks overcame an early deficit and went on to defeat Samford to win of the first time this season and even its season record.

Austin Peay and Murray State, which were the only two conference teams to claim victories in the opening week of the season, both suffered lopsided loss over the weekend. All three teams are 1-1 overall and have one more non-conference game remaining before conference play gets underway on Sept. 25.

UT Martin 33, Samford 27

MARTIN, Tenn. – One aspect of any athletic competition that is often overlooked and talked about even less is sticktoitivenes.

By sticking to a gameplan and trusting in the all the preparation that goes into game day, good things are likely to happen.

UT Martin learned that truth to that by overcoming a 17-0 early deficit on the way to defeating visiting Samford 33-27 on Sept. 11 at Graham Stadium in Martin for its first win of the season. It was the home opener for the Skyhawks.

It was the first game between the two teams had met in Martin since 2007 when both schools were members of the Ohio Valley Conference. It also marked the first time since the Skyhawks managed to come from behind by 14 or more points to win a game since 2015.

Samford’s 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter began to evaporate early in the second period. Quarterback Keon Howard tossed a short pass to the left flat and Peyton Logan hauled it in and scampered 60 yards down the field to put the Skyhawks on the board for the first time.

Howard later scored on a seven-yard TD run and connected with Logan a short time later on a nearly identical play as their earlier connection to give UTM its first lead of the night at 21-20. The second scoring toss covered 51 yards. The Skyhawks got a 31-yard field goal later in the second period from Tyler Larco to take a 24-20 lead at the intermission.

Martin added to its lead in the third period when running back Zak Wallace capped a 14-play drive with a two-yard run with 5:13 to go in the quarter. The Skyhawks tacked on two more point early in the final quarter when JaQuez Akins sacked Samford quarterback Liam Welch in the end zone for a safety and a 33-20 advantage.

Welch, however, made things interesting by connecting with Montrell Washington for a 24-yards TD pass just over two minutes later. That would be as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way.

UT Martin cornerback D’Carrious Stephans intercepted a Welch pass with 1:29 left in the game to end whatever comeback hopes remained for the visitors. Stephans was later named the defensive player of the week in the OVC for his performance against the Bulldogs.

UT Martin dominated the stat sheet in virtually every category against the Bulldogs. The Skyhawks finished the game with 469 yards of total offense and the defense held the visitors to just 217 yards, including a paltry 37 rushing yards, on the day.

Howard completed 18 of 30 passes in the game for 229 yards and the two scoring tosses to Logan. He also added a team-high 66 rushing yards on 16 carries. Wallace was also steady on the ground with 59 yards on 15 carries.

Logan finished the game with 169 combined yards. He caught four passes for 122 yards and ran for 47 yards on nine carries. Logan was named the OVC offensive player of the week by the league office on Sunday.

Linebacker John Ford led the Skyhawks with seven total tackles in the game while Stephens and Deven Sims were both credited with five total tackles in the game.

Samford Leaders

Welch ended the day with 246 yards of offense for the Bulldogs. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 217 yards and the one touchdown. He also led his team in rushing with 19 yards on nine carries. Teammate Jay Stanton was held to just 14 yards on five carries.

Washington and Kendall Watson each caught five passes on the day for Samford. Washington finished with 72 yards while Watson chipped in with 59 yards through the air,

Nathan East led all defensive players on the day with 13 (7 solo) tackles, including an impressive 3.5 tackles for loss.

Up Next: UT Martin at Northwestern State (Sept. 18), Samford at Western Carolina (Sept. 18)

Sam Houston 52, SE Missouri 14

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Defending national champion Sam Houston used a 24-point second quarter and scored the final 38 points of the game to hand Southeast Missouri a 52-14 setback on Sept. 11 in Huntsville.

What was a tight affair in the early going as the two teams traded scores turned into a rout as the BearKats won for the second time in as many outings on the season and sending the Redhawks to their second loss on the young season.

SEMO’s Aaron Alston’s 43-yard touchdown catch tied the game for the first time with 6:33 to go in the first period. Teammate Keandre Booker later intercepted SHSU quarterback Eric Schmid and returned the ball to within two yards of the end zone. Geno Hess, the FCS leader in rushing touchdowns last season, tied the game for a second time at 14-14 with 11:01 to go in the first half.

It turned into a nightmare after that for the Redhawks as the BearKats piled on 38 points that SEMO had no answer to.

SEMO quarterback CJ Ogbonna completed just 13 of 27 passes in the game for 168 yards while Hess was limited to just 42 yards on 15 carries to lead all Redhawks rushers. SEMO was limited to just 306 yards of total offense on the day.

Bryce Norman and Jacob Morrissey combined for 14 total tackles in the game to pace the Redhawks on defense. Norman, a freshman, finished with eight tackles on the day while Morrisey contributed with six stop of his own, including two sacks.


Schmid, one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, completed 16 of 28 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown in the game while running backs Ramon Jefferson and Trapper Pannell combined for 230 yards on the ground. 

Jefferson led the way with 11 carries for 153 yards and a pair of scores. His one-yard burst in the second period gave SHSU a 14-7 lead and his 70-yard scamper a short time later broke the 14-14 tie and opened the floodgates for the BearKats.

Pannell had just one carry, but it covered 77 yards early in the third period and gave the BearKats a 38-14 lead at the time.

Cody Chrest led SHSU receivers with six catches on the day for 72 yards and Chandler Harvin added four receptions for 72 yards. Both scored one touchdown in the game.

Trevor Williams paced all defenders with 12 total tackles in the game.

Sam Houston State, which downed Northern Arizona 42-16 to open the season, is outscoring its opponents by an average of 47-15 through the first two games of the season.

Up Next: SEMO at Missouri (Sept. 18). Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas (Sept. 25)

Dayton 17, Eastern Illinois 10

DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton broke open a close game by scoring 17 points on just five offense plays in the third quarter and then held on to defeat Eastern Illinois 17-10 on Sept. 11 at Welcome Stadium and sending the Panthers to their third straight loss on the young season.

It was the first game in 658 days for the Flyers.

Stone Galloway’s 36-yard field goal accounted for the only points in the first half as EIU held a 3-0 lead at the intermission.

After capping a long drive to open the second half on a 10-yard pass from Jack Cook to Jake Chisholm that gave Dayton the lead, the Flyers would get the ball right back after EIU fumbled on its first play of the third quarter.

Cook would make it count when he ran in from one yard out to increase the UD lead to 14-3 with 4:38 to go in the period.

EIU had to punt on its next possession after just four plays and a nice return set up Dayton in good field position. The Flyers got a 31-yard field goal from Sam Webster for a 17-3 lead. It proved to be all the scoring the hosts would need.

EIU starting quarterback Chris Katrenick completed just 12 of 27 passes for 111 yards and threw one interception. Otto Kuhns came on in relief and completed five of his 12 passes for 60 yards and one touchdown, that coming on a seven-yard pass to Robbie Lofton with 19 seconds left in the game. Kuhns was the leading rusher in the game for the Panthers with 42 yards on four carries while teammate Aaron Foulkes chipped in with 38 yards on three carries.

Lofton ended the game five catches for 56 yards as part of the 300 yards of offense generated by the EIU offense on the afternoon.

Colin Bohanek and Jordan Vincent finished with big defensive efforts for the Panthers. Bohanek ended the game with 14 (4 solo) tackles, while Vincent added 12 tackles of his own, including an impressive 10 solo stops.

Dayton Leaders

Cook finished with 122 yards through the air after completing 18 of 32 pass attempts and the one touchdown strike. He added on the ground with 46 yards on 10 carries and the other touchdown by the offense.

Jake Chandler rushed 27 times for 84 yards to lead the Flyers and also paced the team with 65 receiving yards on nine catches on the day.

Bran Easterling (4 solo) and Elijah Smith (6 solo) finished with eight and seven tackles, respectively, to lead the Dayton defense.

Up Next: Eastern Illinois vs. Illinois State (Sept. 18), Dayon at Southern Illinois (Sept. 18)

Furman 26, Tennessee Tech 0

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech had a glimmer of hope of competing for the Ohio Valley Conference championship as the 2021 season prepared to get underway.

The hopes are still alive with the start of the conference schedule yet to get underway. But it has become abundantly clear plenty of work needs be done in order for that to become a reality.

Tech lost for the second time in as many outings as Furman rolled to a 26-0 win over the Golden Eagles on Sept. 11 at Tucker Stadium.

Two Tech quarterbacks managed to combine for just 11 completions on 29 pass attempts on the afternoon. Davis Shanley completed six of his 21 attempts for just 60 yards and Willie Miller completed five of eight attempts for 38 yards.

The Furman defense also shut down the TTU rushing game by limiting the Golden Eagles to 23 yards on 22 carries. David Gist, perhaps the lone bright spot on the day for Tech, rushed nine times for 32 yards and added 33 yards on four receptions to account for 65 of his team’s 121 yards in the game. No other Tech runner gained more than two yards on the ground.

Quinton Cross caught two passes for 37 yards.

The Tech defense forced the Paladins to punt six times in the game. Seth Carlisle led the Golden Eagles with nine (4 solo) tackles and teammate Jack Warwick added seven (3 solo) tackles in the game.

Furman Leaders

The Paladins, who improved to 2-0 on the season with the win, got a pair of touchdowns from Devin Wynn and collected four field goals from Timmy Bleekrode to account for their points on the day.

Wynn finished the day with 84 yards on 17 carries and scored on runs of 42 and two yards to book end the four field goals from Bleekrode.

Bleekrode was successful on a pair of long kicks of 51 and 45 yards and added field goals of 32 and 25 yards on the afternoon.

Hemp Sisson completed 17 of 29 passes for 196 yards on the day. His favorite target was Joshua Harris, who caught five passes for 54 yards. Zach Peterson and Ryan Miller each caught three passes and tallied 52 and 42 yards, respectively.

Hugh Ryan totaled seven (3 solo) tackles to lead the Paladins on defense.

Up Next: Tennessee Tech at Tennessee (Sept. 18), Furman at N.C. State (Sept. 18)

Cincinnati 42, Murray State 7

CINCINNATI, Ohio – On paper a 35-point loss normally indicates being mismatched against a superior opponent.

Looks can be deceiving.

Murray State actually held a lead on 7th-ranked Cincinnati and was tied with the Bearcats at halftime. But being ranked high in the nation has its reasons. And the Bearcats showed that by scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half on the way to a 42-7 win on Sept. 11 at Nippert Stadium.

MSU’s standout quarterback Preston Rice pushed the ball across from one yard out early in the second quarter to give the Racers an early 7-0 advantage.

The lead, albeit short-lived, was Murray State’s first lead over an FBS team since a 7-6 lead against Northern Illinois in 2015 and the first time the Racers had scored first against an FBS foe since 2014 in a game against Missouri. 

Cincinnati, behind the play of Heisman Trophy hopeful Desmond Ridder tossed a short pass to Noah Davis on a fourth-and-goal exactly four minutes after the Racers had taken the lead to tie the game at 7-7.

Jerome Ford would rush for three touchdowns in the second half to spearhead Cincinnati to the win. The Bearcats also took advantage of three MSU turnovers in the game and converted those into 21 points to aid in the victory. 

Rice finished the day by completing 17 of 29 passes for 149 yards and rushing for 21 yards on seven carries in the contest.

Damonta Witherspoon rushed 16 times for 52 yards while redshirt freshman DeShun Britten caught a career-high five passes for 58 yards.

The MSU defense, which gave 391 yards in the game, was paced by Izaiah Reed, Eric Samata and Devontae McKee. All three players tallied five total tackles in the game. All five of McKee’s stops were unassisted. Reed and teammate Scotty Humpich each tallied a sack in the game.

Cincinnati Leaders

Ridder threw for 243 yards on 14-of-22 passing and tossed a pair of touchdowns to lead the Bearcats on offense while Ford finished the game with an impressive 113 yards rushing on 16 carries. He scored on runs of 13, 8 and 3 yards in the game.

Tyler Scott and Payten Singletary were on the receiving end of Ridder’s touchdown throws. Scott caught a 23-yard pass in the fourth quarter and finished with four catches for 74 yards. Singletary, meanwhile, caught just one pass, but it covered 18 yards with 1:08 left in the game to account for the final points of the game.

Joel Dublanko led the Bearcats with eight (3 solo) tackles while Darrian Beavers (3 solo) and Deshaun Pace (4 solo) ended the game with seven total tackles each.

Up Next: Murray State at Bowling Green (Sept. 18), Cincinnati at Indiana (Sept 18)

Jackson State 38, Tennessee State 16

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One of the most-anticipated early-season matchups played out on the football field on Sept. 11 in Memphis as Jackson State and Tennessee State squared off in the Southern Heritage Classic.

And now finally the hype can be put to rest and instead of focusing on the sidelines, attention can be restored to the playing field.

History will show that JSU coach Deion Sanders got the better of his hall of fame counterpart Eddie George as Jackson State won the game 38-16 behind the performance of Shedeur Sanders, the son of former Florida State standout and the current JSU coach.

The young Sanders completed 30 of his 40 pass attempts for 362 yards and three touchdowns in the game. He completed scoring tosses to Keith Corbin (67 yards), Shane Hooks (10 yards) and Joshua Lanier (14 yards) to highlight his performance.

His first TD pass was to Lanier just before the end of the first quarter for the first points of the game. But TSU responded a short time later when Deveon Bryant tied the game at 7-7 with 9:36 remaining in the first half.

JSU managed to take a 10-7 lead on a Glenn Misiak 28-yard field goal with 2:32 to go in the half that allowed Jackson State to take a 10-7 lead. 

Touchdown passes to Corbin and Hooks in the third quarter pushed JSU’s lead to 24-7 and proved to be too much for George and his team to overcome.

Tennessee State got a 37-yard field off the foot of Chayil Garnett early in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 24-10 with 13:17 left in the game. TSU was forced to punt on its next possession and Warren Newman returned the punt 81 yards for the score and Misiak’s PAT made it 31-10 midway through the final period.

Peytton Pickett’s four-yard run closed the scoring for JSU with just under three minutes left in game

A 47-yard TD pass from Geremy Hickbottom to Rodell Rahmaan with just six seconds left was a case of too little, too late for TSU. 

Hickbottom completed nine of his 15 passes in the game for 138 yards and the one touchdown. Standout running back Devon Starling was limited to just 35 yards on 11 carries in the game.

Rahmaan finished the game with four catches for 94 yards Teammate Dayron Johnson added four catches for 56 yards in the game.

Jackson State Leaders

The 362 passing yards by Sanders were the third-most passing yards in the history of the Southern Heritage Classic.

Pickett finished the game with a game-high 55 yards on 11 carries while Lanier and Trevonte Rucker led the way with five catches each for the Tigers. Lanier finished the game with 56 catches to go along with his one TD while Rucker tallied a game-high 72 yards. Hooks finished with four catches for 47 yards and Corbin’s two receptions covered 69 yards.

Up Next: Tennessee State vs. Kentucky State (Sept. 18), Jackson State at Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 18)

Ole Miss 54, Austin Peay 17

OXFORD, Miss. – Getting outscored by a big margin usually means not many things went the right way on the night for any college football team.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about perspective.

And Austin Peay coach Scotty Walden and his Governors have things to feel good about despite losing to Ole Miss 54-17 on Sept. 11 in Oxford. 

Ole Miss, which downed Louisville 43-24 in the season opener, improved to 2-0 on the year with the win. Austin Peay, meanwhile, dropped to 1-1 on the year with the loss. The Govs defeated Chattanooga 30-20 in their season opener.

APSU quarterback Draylen Ellis threw for 226 yards and one touchdown against the Rebels of the Southeastern Conference. The talented sophomore, who was under pressure from the Ole Miss defense throughout the night, completed 22 of 40 passes and tossed one touchdown in the game.

Two other APSU quarterbacks saw action in the game on the big stage in Oxford and combined to complete two of four passes. Sheldon Layman complete two of the three passes he attempted for 34 yards in the game while Trey Goodman was unsuccessful in the only time he went to the air in his limited time on the field.

CJ Evans had a solid performance against the Rebels. He rushed seven times for a game-high 74 yards and added 31 receiving yards after catching four passes in the game. He scored one of the two touchdowns in the game for the Govs when he maneuvered his way around the Rebel defense for a 40-yard score with just over three minutes remaining in the game to close the scoring.

Evans was complemented nicely by Ahmaad Tanner who rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries in the game.

Despite the solid performances by Evans and Tanner, the Govs managed just 114 rushing yards on 38 carries in the game. APSU lost 40 yards on the ground in the game. Nearly half (17) of that negative yardage were the result of the five sacks suffered by Ellis on the day.

Drae McCray led the Govs in receiving by hauling in six passes for 87 yards while Baniko Harley caught three passes for 57 yards and one touchdown. He scored on a 30-yarder with just over two minutes remaining before halftime to put the Gov on the board after the Rebels had scored the first 37 points of the game

D.J. Render led all receivers in the game with eight catches for 37 yards in just his second collegiate game.

Koby Perry and Shamari Simmons both tallied 11 total tackles to pace the Govs in that department while Kordell Jackson and Kory Chapman both posted eight total stops in the game, including a pair of sacks by Jackson.

Ole Miss Leaders

Quarterback Matt Corral completed 21 of 33 passes in the game 281 yards and five touchdowns to spearhead the Ole Miss offense. He also carried the ball eight times for 35 yards on the day.

Corral spread his passing around to eight different Rebels in the game. Dontario Drummond led all receivers in the game. He caught six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns and fellow pass catcher Jonathan Mingo also scored twice after hauling in seven passes for 99 yards.

The final touchdown through the air came from Braylon Sanders who finished with two catches for 25 yards in the contest.

Corral was one of nine players to carry the ball for the Rebels. Henry Parrish carried eight times in the game for 72 yards and teammate John Rhys Plumlee was not far behind with 64 yards on just four carries in the game.

Ole Miss finished with 630 yards of total offense while limiting the Govs to just 374 yards in the game.

Defensive lineman Sam Williams, who tallied two of the five sacks in the game, was one of eight players who finished the game with five total tackles for the Rebels.

Up Next: Austin Peay hosts Morehead State (Sept. 18), Ole Miss hosts Tulane (Sept. 18)

2021 OVC Standings

PosTeamWLConf WConf LPFPAStreak