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CSN Inside the OVC: Last of the Unbeatens

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

Two teams still stand as the lone unbeatens in the OVC, but one will fall this weekend when Tennessee State travels to face No. 16 Eastern Kentucky.

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Two-time defending champion EKU (3-1, 3-0 OVC) kept its hold on first place with its 36-31 victory over then-league undefeated and now No. 25 Eastern Illinois.

“I though we were at Kings Island (amusement park) in Cincinnati on a roller coaster,” EKU coach Dean Hood said of the game between his Colonels and Panthers. “We both looked like the Bad News Bears and then you’d look up and we both looked like teams who were contenders for a championship. It was crazy and back and forth. It was a great to play a game like that where we stayed together and got a big victory.”

Tennessee State (2-3, 1-0 OVC) joined the ranks of the league-undefeateds with its 23-17 triumph over Southeast Missouri (1-4, 0-3 OVC).

Not to be lost in all the buildup is the fact that TSU is the only team to beat the Colonels during their two-year stretch of winning OVC titles.

The Tigers beat EKU 34-20 in 2008 for the Colonels’ only loss during their 7-1 season. EKU went 8-0 en route to the championship in 2007.

TSU’s victory last season vaulted it to a 3-0 start before it lost to SEMO 27-20 and went on to finish 5-3 in the OVC. Of course, EKU didn’t lose again in the league and won seven straight before falling to eventual FCS champion Richmond in the first round of the playoffs.

The title was EKU’s all-time league leading 20th crown.

“We always felt like we were a good football team in years past,” TSU coach James Webster said. “EKU has been the face of the OVC and coach Hood has come in and continued that. We, last year, had a chance to control our own destiny after we beat them early. But they got it going and we tripped along the way. I don’t know if we’re going to win, but the players feel confident and feel like they can win.”

IS HE THAT GOOD?: No. 20 Jacksonville State senior quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was named OVC Player of the Week again this week, making it the fourth straight week he’s done that.

It also made the LaPlace, La., native the first player in OVC history to accomplish that feat. So that means Perrilloux has to be pretty good doesn’t it?

“I don’t think there’s any doubt outside of Bo Jackson he’s the best player I’ve ever seen play,” JSU coach Jack Crowe said. “And I’m talking about a great athlete who can play at a very high level.”

And what’s been the biggest key to Perrilloux’s success?

“He’s playing consistently,” Crowe said. “I think everything was there last year. But he just didn’t play with consistency game after game. That consistency has been there to this point, and I don’t think there’s ever really been a question to how good he is. He was the No. 1 recruited player coming out of high school. So that covers a lot of ground.”

TAKING ON JOE PA: No. 25 Eastern Illinois can’t lick its wounds too long especially because the Panthers will travel to play F BS No. 12 Penn State on ESPN Classic at 11 a.m.

“They’ve got a big number in front of them and that’s a challenge,” EIU coach Bob Spoo said. “We just hope we can prepare to play a solid game and through some kind of a miracle keep it close. We’re going there not to lay down and roll over. We’ll present ourselves well and see what happens.”

FIRST FBS STEPS: Austin Peay had already landed Middle Tennessee State as its first FBS opponent and big payday since its return to scholarship football. Now, the Govs have added Wisconsin to the 2010 schedule.

APSU will play at Wisconsin on Sept. 25, 2010, and is expected to make $300,000 for the game. The Govs will make $150,000 to play MSTU the weekend of Sept. 9-11, 2010. The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle first broke the news that APSU, MTSU and Wisconsin were in serious discussions about playing a game back on June 17.

Austin Peay has not played a Football Bowl Subdivision team since the Governors lost at Troy, 41-3, in the 2002 season. APSU has not played a FBS program as a scholarship program since it lost to Arkansas State in 1996.

OVC EXTRAS: EKU has now won 22 of its last 23 OVC games dating to the 2006 season … EKU defensive back Jeremy Caldwell was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by us (College Sporting News) after he picked off two passes (returning one for a score) and forced a fumble with 12 seconds to play to seal the victory over EIU … In the first Sgt. York Trophy series game of the season, Tennessee Tech knocked off Austin Peay 31-23 in Cookeville. Tech will play UT Martin this week, in its second Sgt. York game of the year (the series is contested between the four OVC schools from the state of Tennessee) … For the third straight week three OVC teams are in the Top 25 with Eastern Kentucky coming in at No. 16, Jacksonville State No. 18 and Eastern Illinois No. 25.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Saturday, Oct. 3
*@ No. 20 Jacksonville State 52, UT Martin 7
*No. 18 Eastern Kentucky 36, @ No. 23 Eastern Illinois 31
*@Tennessee State 23, Southeast Missouri 17
*@Tennessee Tech 31, Austin Peay 23

THIS WEEK IN THE OVC
Saturday’s games

No. 25 Eastern Illinois at No. 12 Penn State, 11 a.m. (ESPN Classic)
*Austin Peay at Southeast Missouri, 1 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*Tennessee Tech at UT Martin, 2 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*No. 18 Jacksonville State at Murray State, 3 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*Tennessee State at No. 16 Eastern Kentucky, 5 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*Denotes OVC Games

Tennessee State Tigers (2-3, 1-0 OVC) at No. 16 Eastern Kentucky Colonels (3-1, 3-0 OVC) • Roy Kidd Stadium (20,000) • Richmond, Ky.
THE STATS: TV: ………………………………………………………………………….. OVCSports.TV
Series Record: ……………………………………. Eastern Kentucky leads 19-3
Last Meeting: …………………………. Tennessee State won 34-20 (9/20/08)
James Webster at Tennessee State: …………………………….23-27 (5 yrs.)
James Webster Overall: ………………………………………………………….. same
Dean Hood at Eastern Kentucky: …………………………………… 11-5 (2 yrs.)
Dean Hood Overall: ……………….. ……………………………………………….. same
Tennessee State Last Week: ………….. W, 23-17 vs. Southeast Missouri
Eastern Kentucky Last Week: ……………..W, 36-31 at No. 23 Eastern Illinois
THE BACKGROUND: The only two remaining undefeated teams in OVC play (among those who are eligible for the championship) will square off in Richmond. Eastern Kentucky has won 22 of its last 23 OVC games overall dating to the 2006 season with the only loss coming at the hands of Tennessee State (then ranked 25th nationally) last September. The victory by TSU snapped an eight-game winning streak in the series by EKU and marked just the third triumph for the Tigers in 22 total meetings with the Colonels.
THE PREDICTION: EKU 35, TSU 27

No. 25 Eastern Illinois Panthers (4-1, 2-1 OVC) at No. 12 (FBS) Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) • Beaver Stadium (107,282) • State College, Pa.
TV: ……………………………………………………………………………..ESPN Classic
THE STATS: Series Record: …………………………………………………………….. First meeting
Last Meeting: ………………………………… …………………………………………… n/a
Bob Spoo at Eastern Illinois: ……………………………….. 136-110-1 (22 yrs.)
Bob Spoo Overall: …………………………………………………………………… same
Joe Paterno at Penn State: ………………………………….387-128-3 (43 yrs.)
Joe Paterno Overall: ……………………………………………………………….. same
Eastern Illinois Last Week: ………….. L, 36-31 vs. #18 Eastern Kentucky
Penn State Last Week:.………………………………………….W, 35-17 at Illinois
THE BACKGROUND: Penn State is led by Joe Paterno, who is 387-128-3 in his 43rd year. He is the longest tenured active coach at one school in Division I. Fifth on that same list is Eastern Illinois head coach Bob Spoo, 136-110-1 in his 22nd season in Charleston, Ill. The game should be played in front of the largest crowd ever to watch an=2 0OVC team play (which is 85,754 when Tennessee Tech played at Auburn in 2007).
THE PREDICTION: Penn State 33, EIU 21

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (2-2, 1-1 OVC) at UT Martin Skyhawks (2-3, 1-1 OVC) • Graham Stadium (7,500) • Martin, Tenn.
THE STATS: TV: ………………………………………………………………………….. OVCSports.TV
Series Record: …………………………………… Tennessee Tech leads 19-9-2
Last Meeting: ……………………………………. UT Martin won 35-7 (10/16/08)
Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech: ………………………………. 9-18 (3 yrs.)
Watson Brown Overall: ……………………………………… 103-169-1 (25 yrs.)
Jason Simpson at UT Martin: ………………………………………..23-17 (4 yrs.)
Jason Simpson Overall: …………………………………………………………… same
Tennessee Tech Last Week: ……………………… W, 31-23 vs. Austin Peay
UT Martin Last Week: ……………………… L, 52-7 at No. 20 Jacksonville State
THE BACKGROUND: A week after playing the first Sgt. York Trophy game of
the season, Tennessee Tech will travel to Martin, Tenn. to play in the second game of the annual quadrangular series between the four OVC schools from Tennessee. The teams have split the last two meetings with TTU winning 13-10 on the road in 2007 and UT Martin claiming a 35-7 victory in Cookev ille a year ago.
THE PREDICTION: UT Martin 35, Tennessee Tech 20

No.18 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (3-2, 1-0 OVC) at Murray State Racers (1-3, 0-1 OVC) • Stewart Stadium (16,800) • Murray, Ky.
THE STATS: TV: ………………………………………………………………………….. OVCSports.TV
Series Record: ……………………………………… Jacksonville State leads 5-1
Last Meeting: ……………………… Jacksonville State won 31-21 (10/18/08)
Jack Crowe at Jacksonville State: …………………………….. 60-44 (10 yrs.)
Jack Crowe Overall: ………………………………………………… 74-74 (15 yrs.)
Matt Griffin at Murray State: …………………………………. ………. 4-22 (4 yrs.)
Matt Griffin Overall: ……………………………………………………..14-46 (7 yrs.)
Jacksonville State Last Week: ………………………….. W, 52-7 vs. UT Martin
Murray State Last Week: ……………………………………………………………. Idle
THE BACKGROUND: Jacksonville State a nd Murray State will play for only the seventh time in each program’s history. Each of those meetings occurred after Jacksonville State joined the OVC in 2003. Murray State won the initial meeting (23-17 in overtime), but Jax State has won the last five meetings (by an average margin of 14.8 points) including 31-21 a season ago. Saturday is Homecoming for Murray State.
THE PREDICTION: JSU 45, MSU 21

Austin Peay Governors (1-4, 0-2 OVC) at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (1-4, 0-3 OVC) • Houck Stadium (10,000) • Cape Girardeau, Mo.
THE STATS: TV: ………………………………………………………………………….. OVCSports.TV
Series Record: ……………………………………. Southeast Missouri leads 8-5
Last Meeting: …………………. … Southeast Missouri won 33-30 (11/22/08)
Rick Christophel at Austin Peay: ………………………………….. 10-17 (3 yrs.)
Rick Christophel Overall: …………………………………………………………. same
Tony Samuel at Southeast Missouri: …………………………….12-27 (4 yrs.)
Tony Samuel Overall: ……………………………………………….. 46-84 (11 yrs.)
Austin Peay Last Week: ………………………… L, 31-23 at Tennessee Tech
Southeast Missouri Last Week: ……………… L, 23-17 at Tennessee State
GAME NOTES: Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri are meeting for the 14th time overall and fourth year in a row. The teams did not play from 1997 to 2006 when Austin Peay was not a member of the OVC. The road team has won the last four games in the series and five of six overall. Each of the last two games in the series have been decided by just three points.
THE PREDICTION: SEMO 33, APSU 17

MY PREDICTION RECORD
OVERALL: 29-4
LAST WEEK: 3-1