Ohio Valley: Week 2 Preview

Ohio Valley: Week 2 Preview


This weekend in the Ohio Valley features some great FCS match ups like Tennessee Tech at Kennesaw State, Southeast Missouri State at Dayton, and a chance for Murray State to test themselves with one of the best the Southland has to offer when #16 Central Arkansas comes to visit.



#28 Tennessee State (1-0) vs. Jackson State (0-1) @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN

When: Saturday 6PM Central

Where to Watch/ Listen: Fox Sports South/

Tennessee State will meet Jackson State on Saturday night in Memphis for the 28th Annual Southern Heritage Classic.  Tennessee State currently leads the series 16-9 with the last year’s meeting resulting in a 40-26 win for the Tennessee State Tigers.

This match up looks like another favorable one for Tennessee State.  It’s hard to tell what Jackson State will be able to do offensively after their beatdown at TCU last week but I’m willing to bet that Tennessee State’s defense is about to have a field day. Jackson State was held to .6 yards per rush last week and only completed half of their 14 pass attempts for 41 yards.

Treon Harris will look to pick up right where he left off last week and likely thrive against a weaker defense than what we saw TSU play last week.  Look for Harris to improve on his passing efficiency from last week.  Harris completed less than half his passes against Georgia State, if he can show improvement it should be a good sign for the TSU offense as they move forward with their season.  I also expect we will see a heavier dose of TSU’s rushing attack.   The Jackson State defense gave up nearly 7 yards per rush against TCU last weekend and I expect Rod Reed will want to keep the ball on the ground if he can.  After all, running the ball was a big part of their success against Georgia State.

Stick with your strengths. Don’t be the Falcons.

Prediction:  Tennessee State 48  Jackson State 7



Eastern Kentucky (0-1) @ Kentucky (1-0)

When: Saturday 11AM Central

Where to Watch: SEC Network/ WatchESPN

Last time this game happened Eastern Kentucky almost pulled off one of the largest upsets the SEC has seen in years when the Wildcats had to rally in the 4th quarter to force overtime and eventually win the game.

It’s hard to say whether we will learn much more about the defense from this game than we did last week.  Even if the defense improves Kentucky is still a better team than WKU… maybe.  The key here for EKU is to hold onto the ball and force some turnovers.  Southern Miss almost took down the Wildcats last week after giving the ball away 3 times.  If EKU can stifle the run like the did against WKU this game might look a whole lot like last time.

Offensively the Colonels need to establish a rushing attack.  25 rushing yards ain’t beatin’ no one.  EKU had 180 rushing yards in their last meetup with the Wildcats.  This game WILL come down to which team can run the ball better and if EKU can run the ball with some degree of consistency they have a shot at doing what they should have done in 2015.

Prediction:  Kentucky 28 EKU 17



UT-Martin (1-0) vs Ole Miss (1-0)

When: Saturday 11AM Central

Where to Watch:  SEC Network/ WatchESPN

UT- Martin is going to have their hands full this weekend in Oxford.  With any luck this won’t look like the 76-3 beatdown the Skyhawks received in Oxford two years ago.  With all the happenings going on in athletic offices in Oxford this past year the Skyhawks may have a chance to keep this game respectable.

Based on the Rebel’s performance in week 1, the loss of QB Chad Kelly isn’t a big deal.  Shea Patterson threw for 429 yards and 4TDs in his 47-27 debut over South Alabama.  Ole Miss did have issues running the ball against USA and it will be worth watching to see how UTM’s defense can capitalize on those issues and whether they will be able to slow down Patterson.  Offensively the key is to be able to hold onto the football, control the clock, and keep the defense off the field.  If UT-Martin can run the ball against non-DII opponents we will find out this week and Troy Cook will need some help if the Skyhawk’s don’t want to get run out of Mississippi again.

Prediction:  Ole Miss 42  UT-Martin 13



Southeast Missouri State (0-1) @ Dayton (0-1)

When: Saturday 12PM Central

Where to Watch: Youtube 

With SEMO coming off a beating in Kansas and Dayton losing a close one to RMU on the road both teams will be looking to bounce back in week 2.  SEMO still has a lot to prove this season if they want to show they can stay competitive in the conference this year.

Offensively the Redhawks need to find a rushing game to replace the production of Will Young and Tremane McCollough.  Marquis Terry showed a little flash against KU but he will need some help from the boys up front if he wants to have sustained success. Jesse Hosket look serviceable in the passing game last week and I expect we will see him have a great game this weekend against a non-Power 5 defense.

Defensively the Redhawks need to just keep doing what they’re doing and stop the run.  They held Kansas to just 2.9 yards per rush last weekend and if they can keep Dayton in front of them and don’t get beat over the top this could be a long day for the Flyers.

Prediction:  SEMO 27 Dayton 17



Austin Peay (0-1) @ Miami (OH) (0-1)

When:  Saturday 2:30PM Central

Where to Watch:  ESPN3

Call me crazy but I think Austin Peay can take this game.  I didn’t say they will, I said I think they can.  This is a team that Eastern Illinois beat last year and they didn’t look all that great in their season opener at Marshall.  Miami has a weak rushing attack and will likely try to air it out on the Govs.

Austin Peay’s rushing defense looked stout against Cincinnati and if they can have a repeat performance they may have a shot at pulling the upset.  The problem is they will have to limit Miami’s passing attack that put up nearly 300 yards of offense on Marshall.  If Austin Peay can get pressure and get off the field on third down the effort will liekly keep them in it with Miami.

Offensively I’d like to see the same game plan we saw last weekend. Run the ball.  Peay managed 224 rushing yards against Cincinnati and will need the run game to keep Miami’s offense off the field.  One thing the Govs must fix is their 3rd down conversion percentage.  The Govs only completed 3 of their 16 third downs last week and if they can increase that number and extend drives I see no reason they can’t hang with the RedHawks.

Prediction: Austin Peay 24 Miami (OH) 27



Eastern Illinois (1-0) @ Northern Illinois (0-1)

When: Saturday 2:30 Central

Where to Watch: ESPN3

Last time these two teams met the Panthers had Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and NIU was a 12-2 MAC West Champion.  While I don’t think EIU will have quite as good a chance to beat NIU as they did back in 2013 when they were edged out 43-39, I do think if the defense can hold up for 60 minutes they may stay competitive.  NIU opened up their season last weekend with a loss at Boston College and looked anything but impressive.  NIU’s punter had nearly as many yards as the offense did in part because the offense was only 2 of 15 on third down.  I don’t think Eastern Illinois will be able to do much to slow down the Huskies run game but if Mitch Kimble can get some help from his offensive line he may be enough to keep them in the game.

Prediction:  Eastern Illinois 10 Northern Illinois 34



Tennessee Tech (0-1) @ Kennesaw State (0-1)

When: Saturday 6PM Central

Where to Watch: Big South Network 

Kennesaw State looked solid in their opener at Samford last week as they racked up 545 yards of offense. That said, the key here for Tennessee Tech is to slow down the rushing attack of Kennesaw State.  After giving up 298 yards rushing to Western Illinois last week that may be easier said than done.

On paper I would expect Tennessee Tech to have a better offensive performance than they did against #18 WIU.  After all, it’s difficult to do worse than zero yards rushing on 21 attempts.  If Tech can find a way to run the ball it will help Sale and Satterfield will be able to open up the offense a little bit.  The defense will have to find a way to contain the run and get off the field on third down.  Samford wasn’t able to get KSU off the field on third down and it almost cost them the game.  If Tech allows KSU to run and hold onto the ball it could be another long game for Golden Eagle fans.  However, I do think Tech will be able to bounce back from a rough week one loss.

Prediction:  Tennessee Tech 23 Kennesaw State 21



#16 Central Arkansas (0-1) @ Murray State (1-0)

When: Saturday 6PM Central

Where to Watch: OVC Digital Network

The only home game this weekend in the OVC will feature #16 Central Arkansas and the Murray State Racers.  Murray State will have their hands full this weekend as they take on their first DI opponent without KD Humphries at the helm. The Bears feature a great rushing attack that garnered them 223 yards against Kansas State on 55 attempts and an efficient passing attack that saw quarterback Hayden Hildebrand complete over 77% of his passes for 198 yards, a TD, and a pick.

The Racers are coming off a dominating week one win over Kentucky Wesleyan will have their chance to show what they can do against DI competition.  Murray State had an impressive 6.1 yards per carry in their debut and will have to attempt to repeat that success if they want to hang with one of best teams the Southland conference has to offer.  The Racers will also need to work on slowing down the Bears run heavy offense and getting pressure on Hildebrand if they want a chance at pulling the upset.

Prediction:  Central Arkansas 34 Murray State 13



#5 Jacksonville State (1-0) @ Georgia Tech (0-1)

When:  Saturday 11:30 AM Central

Where to Watch: ACC Network/ WatchESPN

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks will travel to Atlanta this weekend to take on the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech in what is setting up to be a potential trap game for the Yellow Jackets.  After a heartbreaking triple-overtime defeat that saw GT amass 655 yards of offense and 535 rushing yards the Wreck has to face the number #5 team in the country in JSU that is coming off a bye week.  The Gamecocks have a history of playing their FBS opponents tough and I expect this game will be no different.  It will take a near perfect game for the Gamecocks to pull the upset but you can be sure they won’t be some pushover.

If Jacksonville State wants to have a shot to stun the Wreck they will have to do 8 things:

-Sustain long drives on offense.

-Score on those drives and make each possession count.

-Control the clock. The less time GT’s offense has the ball the better.


-Score early and force Tech to play catch up.

-Win on first and third down defensively.

-Create negative plays to get Tech’s offense behind schedule.

-Force turnovers

These may sound like generic things but GT’s clock munching offense amplifies a team’s miscues.  This game will come down to who can run the ball, who can control the clock, and whether JSU’s defense has enough gas in the tank to last 60 minutes.  It’s going to be an uphill battle but it’s not impossible by any means.  Unfortunately, I think GT’s TaQuon Marshall will be the difference maker for the Jackets.  I hope I’m wrong.

Prediction:  Gamecocks 24 Wreck 31

Written by 

Engineering student and Marching Southerner at Jacksonville State University

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