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CSN Inside the OVC: Perrilloux the Real Deal in Person and on Film

floated rightBy James D. Horne, CSN Inside the OVC Columnist

Eastern Illinois had the league’s first look at Jacksonville State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, the OVC Offensive Player of the Week, and Panther coach Bob Spoo says he’s as good as advertised. No. 23 Jacksonville State topped EIU 23-10 last week.


“There’s no question that he’s exactly that (as good as advertised),” he said. “He can make plays and hurt us in so many different ways. He’s better throwing than I anticipated. He’s an impact player and can manage the game. There’s no question about it, he’s a great player.”

Southeast Missouri coach Tony Samuel will get the league’s second look Saturday, and he says the film doesn’t lie.

“He’s good, there’s no question about it. He’s a good quarterback,” Samuel said. “He runs well, escapes well and looks like he’s hard to tackle. I did notice that. He’s got a big name from a media standpoint and that’s good. But he’s a kid, who’s big, strong and hard to tackle. He can run the option, he can scramble, run the quarterback draw and has a quick release.”

GAME OF THE WEEK: For the first time this season, every Ohio Valley Conference team will square off against a league foe.The most anticipated of those is the Tennessee State (4-1, 1-0 OVC) road game at UT Martin (4-1, 2-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The importance of the game, a Sgt. York Trophy contest, is obvious to both sides.
The Tigers have lost two straight to UT Martin (2005 and 2007), whose 48.8 points a game average leads all Championship Division programs (FCS).

“The good news is they can’t bring any of those points into this game. Every game has its own personality,” fourth-year TSU coach James Webster said. “We have a lot of respect for UT Martin because we’ve never beaten them (since I’ve been here). They do a great job with their offense. Their offensive line is quick, the quarterback plays at a high level and they have big wide receivers that can run. They’re very capable on offense.”

The Skyhawks realize TSU didn’t have quarterback Antonio Heffner available in last year’s 43-38 victory.

“You don’t have to say a whole lot about this game,” third-year coach UT Martin coach Jason Simpson said. “Since we’ve been here we’ve played Tennessee State once, and we were very fortunate to win last year. We didn’t play well and they didn’t have Heffner because he was hurt. We know we’re facing a huge challenge. They’re a good, quality team and are well-coached.”

The rest of the OVC slate Saturday sees Murray State (1-4, 0-1) at Austin Peay (0-5, 0-2) at 6 p.m., Southeast Missouri (2-3, 0-1) at No. 23 Jacksonville St. (3-1, 1-0) at 6 p.m. and Eastern Kentucky (2-3, 1-1) at Tennessee Tech (3-2, 1-0) at 7 p.m. All games are available on OVCSports.TV.

DEEP AT QB: As a conference, the OVC has a plethora of quarterback talent aside from Perrilloux, who ranks 17th in the nation in points responsible for a game, 43rd in passing efficiency, 46th in completions and 50th in total offense.

TSU’s Heffner has been nationally recognized twice, been named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week twice and is fifth in the nation in total offense, 11th in passing efficiency and 15th in passing yards a game.

UTM’s Cade Thompson is fourth in efficiency and 15th in points responsible and 37th in passing yards.

And both have a similar story having transferred to their respective schools from South Carolina.

“With them I think you’re dealing with young people who want to play and lead teams to victory,” Webster said. “And both have done that. I think our (TSU and UTM) records are better than South Carolina’s so it goes to show both men have left, and both have led their team’s to victory.”

SEMO’s Houston Lillard is 19th in passing yards a game, 22nd in completions and 25th in total offense. EKU’s Allan Holland is 38th in completions and 48th in passing yards. EIU’s Bodie Reeder is 44th in passing efficiency.

WHAT RIVALRY: If this was basketball season the fans at Austin Peay and Murray State already would be frothing at the mouth anticipating another collision. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case for the football side of things. Govs second-year coach Rick Christophel said he thinks he knows why.

“I think it will get to that point, but for a long time we’ve not been competitive,” he said. “It’s maybe a rivalry for us but not for Murray because they’ve drubbed us. If you’re not competitive there’s no rivalry. Now we recruit a lot of the same players, but until we become more competitive I don’t know if there’s a rivalry to it.”

Austin Peay broke a seven-game losing streak with its victory last year. Murray State second-year coach Matt Griffin said he didn’t know why. “I have no idea and couldn’t talk about it,” he said. “I’ve only been part of it since last year. I don’t know and still don’t know.”

(All on OVCSports.TV)

Tennessee State Tigers (4-1, 1-0 OVC) at UT Martin Skyhawks (4-1, 2-0 OVC), 2 p.m.
UT Martin has won the last two (2005 and 2007), including 43-38 victory in Nashville last year. The Tigers lead the all-time series 12-5. Two of the league’s top quarterbacks, TSU’s Antonio Heffner and UTM’s Cade Thompson, will battle for conference supremacy. The Skyhawks are FCS’s top scoring team, averaging 48.8 points a game. This also is the second Sgt. York Trophy game of the season. UTM is 1-0, while TSU is playing in its first.

TSU coach James Webster on whether the loss to Florida A&M will help this week: “I hate to lose and don’t want to lose, but we will be better football team. When you lose a game you go back and can be critical of yourself and be critical of what you didn’t do. We will be a better football team and won’t roil and toll over the loss. But we will be better.”

UTM coach Jason Simpson on TSU QB Antonio Heffner and his QB Cade Thompson, both being South Carolina transfers: “That’s actually a pretty neat thing to have two former Gamecocks playing and we actually have two. Overall, we have five transfers and TSU has 17. They’ve done a good job of acclimating them to their system. Cade and Brandyn Young both played at South Carolina. I haven’t talked to Cade about it, but it’s neat to see former SEC quarterbacks playing in the conference.”

Murray State Racers (1-4, 0-1 OVC) at Austin Peay Governors (0-5, 0-2 OVC), 6 p.m.
The Govs broke a seven-game losing streak with their 23-17 win in Murray last season, but trails the overall series 28-13. QB T.C. Jennings will make his second start for APSU. Murray State linebacker Nate Williams’ 14.6 tackles a game leads the FCS.

APSU coach Rick Christophel on his team’s 0-5 start: “You’ve just got to look for improvement every week. If you cry over spilled milk then you’ll never get better so you’ve got to stay positive. We’ve got to look at what we improve on and what we need to do to get the win. We’ve got to dwell on the positives and get ready for the next game.”

MSU coach Matt Griffin on his team’s 29 percent conversion rating on third downs: “We’ve got to stay on schedule on first and second downs.”

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (2-3, 0-1 OVC) at No. 23 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (3-1, 1-0 OVC), 6 p.m.
SEMO got its only conference victory last season thanks to beating the Gamecocks 32-25. JSU leads the series 7-5, including winning four of the last five matchups as OVC opponents. Jax State QB Ryan Perrilloux is the reigning OVC Offensive Player of the Week.

SEMO coach Tony Samuel on team’s victory over Jacksonville State last year: “It was a big win for us, and it was the only conference win so that was also very big for us. It’s amazing, because it was the same format we’ve had this season with a bad first half and great second half. We’re still trying to get that out of our system. Maybe we’ll show up early and scrimmage for a quarter or two before we play.”

JSU coach Jack Crow on loss to SEMO last year: “I don’t know if I was more disappointed in any game since I’ve been here in losing to SEMO. It changed the way I dealt with the team and the coaches. I developed a whole new start, and it made me invest in things I never invested in. We changed a lot of faces because of it.”

Eastern Kentucky Colonels (2-3, 1-1 OVC) at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (3-2, 1-0 OVC), 7 p.m.
The teams first met in 1937 and then in 1942, 1945 and 1946, before the OVC came into existence in 1948. They have since played every year since 1950 with EKU leading overall 47-17. The Colonels have won six of the last seven. Tech won in 2006.

EKU coach Dean Hood on each conference game being a week-to-week test of survival: “We have talked about our preparation. After the first four weeks and our being 1-3, we said we were beating ourselves. This is nothing against any other team, but it came down to us not blocking and tackling.”

Tech coach Watson Brown on whether EKU’s close 13-10 overtime victory over Austin Peay matters and trying to get to 2-0 in the league: “Everybody controls their own destiny in conference week to week and honestly, I don’t put a lot into one game over another. They all develop differently and to get to 2-0 we have to play well. You never know what will happen week to week. All I want to do is for us to be excited to be playing EKU, which is a very good team.”