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CSN Inside the OVC: Govs Shake Up OVC

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

There’s no question that Austin Peay’s upset over now unranked but still defending champion Eastern Kentucky was the talk of the league during Tuesday’s OVC coaches’ football conference call.

The Govs (3-4, 2-2 OVC) shocked EKU (4-3, 4-2 OVC) for the first time in 23 games with their 24-20 victory Saturday night.

APSU broke a 22-game losing streak that was the third-longest in the nation to one single opponent. Counting the nine years the teams did not play due to the Govs’ membership in the PFL during its none scholarship years from 1996 to 2007, it had been 32 years since APSU had topped EKU. The last triumph was a 20-17 victory in Richmond on Oct. 1, 1977.

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The Govs’ reward is their next game against equally stout and No. 20 ranked Jacksonville State, which is ineligible for the OVC title and the playoffs due to Academic Progress Rates penalties.

“It is a good win and will enjoy it, but we got back into the film room and saw Jacksonville State,” APSU coach Rick Christophel said. “They are one heck of a football team, and they’ve got a heck of a football player at quarterback (Ryan Perrilloux). We just hope we can stay in the game, get into the fourth quarter and try to win. It’ll be a tough task.”

The Govs’ victory is one that can be looked at as one that increases the program’s standing in the OVC and nationally, but Christophel says it’s going to take more victories like the one over EKU to really resonate.

“You always hope it does because you’ve got to recruit against these people and you hope it helps,” he said. “But to say one win changes things, it doesn’t do that. We’ve got to do it week in and week out and that’s what EKU, EIU (Eastern Illinois), Tennessee State and Jacksonville State do. We have to do it week in and week out and once we do it, our level will rise with those guys.”

BAD CALL RECONIGZED: The OVC acknowledged that the extra down Eastern Kentucky was awarded in the loss to APSU was done so in error.

The Colonels were given an extra third down and four from the Govs’ nine after quarterback T.J. Pryor threw an incompletion. On the second third down and four, Pryor found Cody Watts on an 8-yard pass for a first down and Pryor scored from the one on the next play.

“We have processed the film and (OVC Coordinator of Football Officiating) Jim Jackson reviews all tapes,” said Kyle Schwartz, the OVC’s Assistant Commissioner of Athletic Media Relations. “We’ve dealt with this before. The coaches have a complaint process where they send clips and talk to Jim about them.

“With the Eastern Kentucky call, the league acknowledges a mistake was made and an extra down was rewarded. All specifics of any punishment is kept internal by the conference. And while we won’t any announce any specifics, we acknowledge the mistake.”

EKU coach Dean Hood said as they were sending out their field goal unit they asked the officials if it was third down or not and the officials told the Colonels it was third down.

STILL A JUMBLE: The other thing APSU’s victory did was clutter the race for the championship even more.

Now GPI No. 20 EIU (6-2, 4-1 OVC) and TSU (3-4, 2-1 OVC) are in the catbird seat. But both teams know it’s not going to be easy to stay there.

“I would agree that the league is the best I’ve seen since I’ve been in it from top to bottom,” said Bob Spoo, EIU’s coach for the past 22 years. “You got to be ready to play no matter whom you are playing and if you’re not, you’re going to get beat. So it is wide open and you’ve got to be ready every week.”

EIU helped its cause by beating GPI No. 18 Jax State 28-20, the Panthers’ fourth triumph in five games over the Gamecocks.

TSU kept pace thanks to its bye week.

OVC EXTRAS: Terrence Holt, APSU’s junior tailback and kick returner, was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week for his 176-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Colonels. Meanwhile, junior defensive tackle Antonio Faulkner, whose late-game pass-rushing heroics forced a fumble on one drive and caused an interception on the next, was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week. It was the second time in as many games the Govs have players earn league honors. Ryan White, APSU’s other co-No. 1 runningback, was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts at Southeast Missouri while freshman safety Jeremy Ross was named OVC Newcomer of the Week for his defensive performance in the same game … Eastern Illinois sophomore Lorence Ricks was named National Specialist of the Week by The Sports Network and College Sporting News after his performance against JSU. Ricks returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, blocked a punt that set up a score and forced a key fumble for EIU … The victory by EIU over a Top 15 opponent, was the first for the team since beating No. 1 Northern Iowa on Nov. 7, 1992.

LAST SATURDAY’S RESULTS

*Eastern Illinois 28, @Jacksonville State 20
*@Tennessee Tech 28, Southeast Missouri 16
*@Austin Peay 24, Eastern Kentucky 20
*@UT Martin 38, Murray State 24
*Denotes OVC game

OVC STANDINGS

Team OVC Overall
Eastern Illinois 4-1 6-2
Tennessee State 2-1 3-4
Eastern Kentucky 4-2 4-3
Tennessee Tech 3-2 4-3
Austin Peay 2-2 3-4
UT Martin 2-3 3-5
Murray State 1-3 2-5
Southeast Missouri State 0-5 1-6
*Jacksonville State 2-1 4-3
*ineligible for OVC tile and playoffs due to APR penalties

THIS WEEK IN THE OVC

Saturday’s Games
*Southeast Missouri at Eastern Kentucky, Noon (OVCSports.TV)
*GPI No. 20 Eastern Illinois at Murray State, 1 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*Tennessee State at Tennessee Tech, 1:30 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
*GPI No. 18 Jacksonville State at Austin Peay, 4 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (1-6, 0-5 OVC) at Eastern Kentucky Colonels (4-3, 4-2 OVC) • Roy Kidd Stadium (20,000) • Richmond, Ky.
THE BACKGROUND:
Series Record: ……………………………………. Eastern Kentucky leads 17-2
Last Meeting: ………………………… Eastern Kentucky won 29-16 (11/1/08)
Tony Samuel at Southeast Missouri: …………………………….12-29 (4 yrs.)
Tony Samuel Overall: ……………………………………………….. 46-86 (11 yrs.)
Dean Hood at Eastern Kentucky: …………………………………… 12-7 (2 yrs.)
Dean Hood Overall: …………………………………………………………………. same
Southeast Missouri Last Week: ……………… L, 28-16 at Tennessee Tech
Eastern Kentucky Last Week: ……………………….. L, 24-20 at Austin Peay
THE PRIMER: Eastern Kentucky leads the all-time series 17-2, having won the last five games overall. Southeast Missouri last won by a 41-38 margin in 2003.
THE PREDICTION: EKU 28, SEMO 10

GPI No. 20 Eastern Illinois Panthers (6-2, 4-1 OVC) at Murray State Racers (2-5, 1-3 OVC) • Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) • Murray, Ky.
THE BACKGROUND:
Series Record: ……………………………………….. Eastern Illinois leads 13-11
Last Meeting: ………………………………. Eastern Illinois won 34-6 (11/1/08)
Bob Spoo at Eastern Illinois: ……………………………….. 138-111-1 (22 yrs.)
Bob Spoo Overall: …………………………………………………………………… same
Matt Griffin at Murray State: …………………………………………10-31 (4 yrs.)
Matt Griffin Overall: ……………………………………………………..20-55 (7 yrs.)
Eastern Illinois Last Week: …………… W, 28-20 at #12 Jacksonville State
Murray State Last Week: ………………………………….. L, 38-24 at UT Martin
THE PRIMER: The series has been one-sided in recent years with Eastern Illinois winning the last six games, including 34-6 a season ago. Murray State, which holds a 13-11 advantage all-time, last won in 2002, a 37-35 decision at home.
THE PREDICTION: EIU 35, MSU 23

Tennessee State Tigers (3-4, 2-1 OVC) at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (4-3, 3-2 OVC) • Tucker Stadium (16,500) • Cookeville, Tenn.
THE BACKGROUND:
Series Record: ……………………………………… Tennessee State leads 14-8
Last Meeting: …………………………. Tennessee State won 41-14 (11/1/08)
James Webster at Tennessee State: …………………………….24-28 (5 yrs.)
James Webster Overall: ………………………………………………………….. same
Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech: …………………………….. 11-19 (3 yrs.)
Watson Brown Overall: ……………………………………… 105-170-1 (25 yrs.)
Tennessee State Last Week: ……………………………………………………… Idle
Tennessee Tech Last Week: …………… W, 28-16 vs. Southeast Missouri
THE PRIMER: Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech renew their rivalry on Saturday in Cookeville in a key Sgt. York Trophy matchup which also marks Homecoming for the Golden Eagles. The series, contested between the four OVC schools from the state of Tennessee, can be won by Tech this season with a victory Saturday. That would give the Golden Eagles a sweep of their Tennessee counterparts in 2009. TSU, on the other hand, is playing its first Sgt. York game of the season; it plays all three Sgt. York games this season in back-to-back-to-back weeks starting with TTU. TSU has won the Sgt. York Trophy in each of its first two years of existence (2007, 2008). Overall, TSU holds a 14-8 advantage in the all-time series with Tennessee Tech and has won the last five in the series, including a 41-14 victory a season ago.
THR PREDICTION: TSU 27, TTU 16

GPI No. 18 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (4-3, 2-1 OVC) at Austin Peay Governors (3-4, 2-2 OVC) • Governors Stadium (10,000) • Clarksville, Tenn.
THE BACKGROUND:
Series Record: …………………………………. Jacksonville State leads 10-6-3
Last Meeting: ………………………… Jacksonville State won 35-22 (11/1/08)
Jack Crowe at Jacksonville State: …………………………….. 61-45 (10 yrs.)
Jack Crowe Overall: ………………………………………………… 75-75 (15 yrs.)
Rick Christophel at Austin Peay: ………………………………….. 12-17 (3 yrs.)
Rick Christophel Overall: …………………………………………………………. same
Jacksonville State Last Week: …………… L, 28-20 vs. #24 Eastern Illinois
Austin Peay Last Week: …………….. W, 24-20 vs. #20 Eastern Kentucky
THE PRIMER: Austin Peay will host Jacksonville State for Homecoming this weekend in a key league matchup. Although Jax State is not eligible for the OVC Championship, Austin Peay is still in the thick of the hunt, sitting just one loss behind the co-leaders entering this week. The Govs are fresh off an upset victory over Eastern Kentucky, the team’s first over the Colonels since 1977. The APSU/JSU series dates to 1947, although the teams have played only twice during the last 30 years. Since the Govs rejoined the OVC for football, Jax State has won both matchups, 42-9 in 2007 (on a game that was televised on ESPNU) and 35-22 in Jacksonville last season.
THE PREDICTION: JSU 38, APSU 21

MY PREDICTION RECORD
OVERALL: 34-11
LAST WEEK: 1-3

OVC IN THE GPI

7. Ohio Valley Conference (46.74)
18. Jacksonville St (18.00)
20. E Illinois (20.00)
47. E Kentucky (38.25)
53. Tennessee Tech (43.00)
61. Austin Peay (48.13)
76. TN Martin (56.38)
79. Tennessee St (60.88)
87. Murray St (64.38)
102T. SE Missouri St (71.63)