There are only 4 match ups in the OVC this week as Murray State is taking a week off before they host Tennessee-Martin. #28 Tennessee State is going to Charleston to take on the Panthers and looks to stay undefeated and claim their first win over a ranked team since 2013 when they knocked off #24 Jax State at home. SEMO is coming off their upset win over Eastern Illinois and will try to stay undefeated in conference play as they travel to take on Eastern Kentucky. The still winless Austin Peay will probably extend their losing streak in Martin this weekend. Tennessee Tech will be looking for another big win as they travel down to Jacksonville to take on the #2 ranked Gamecocks.
Southeast Missouri State @ Eastern Kentucky 6PM EST (OVCDN)
If Eastern Kentucky wants a shot at the playoffs they must win out. There are only 7 games left on their schedule and their only win was to a NAIA school. Southeast Missouri State is coming off an upset over #22 Eastern Illinois and will look to extend their win streak to 3. If Eastern Kentucky wants to win this game they MUST establish the run game. As last week showed, relying solely on Bennie Coney won’t cut it for the Colonels and they need to run more and control the clock as they only held the ball for 17 minutes last week in their loss. Playing better defense wouldn’t hurt either. Last week Tech scorched EKU’s secondary for 327 yards. This will definitely be an interesting game to keep an eye on to see if Southeast Missouri can establish themselves as a contender for the OVC.
Prediction: EKU’s offense once again shows it’s inconsistency and SEMO does enough to get their third W in a row.
Austin Peay @ Tennessee-Martin 3PM EST (OVCDN)
Do you really have to ask how I think this game is going to go? UTM will be able to move the ball at will against an outmatched Govs defense. Austin Peay’s best chance at a win here might be to turn this game into a shootout. However, that might be easier said than done as they have only scored over 17 points one time this season. That said, UTM hasn’t really shown that they can effectively contain offenses either considering they have yet to hold any D-I team below 360 yards of offense. This will really come down to what Healy can dial up to keep Austin Peay’s offense on the field. I don’t think Austin Peay will be able to stop UTM’s offense, but if Austin Peay’s offense has a day like they did against EIU (minus the turnovers, obviously) I don’t know that UTM can stop the Gov’s offense.
Prediction: Austin Peay can’t get things moving consistently enough on offense to stay in the game and UTM runs away with it.
UTM- 42 APSU- 24
#28 Tennessee State @ #22 Eastern Illinois 7PM EST (OVCDN)
I’m unofficially dubbing this as the OVC game of the week. Why? It’s judgement day for both Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State as the winner of this game will likely be in the driver’s seat for an at-large spot in the playoffs and if Tennessee State wins they will be be one big step closer to locking up a part of the OVC championship. Tennessee State is currently 4-0 after knocking off UT-Martin last week at home and the 3-2 Panthers are currently ranked at 22 in the AGS poll and are coming off a loss at SEMO. The Panthers only other loss was to Big Ten Purdue and they currently have FBS Miami (OH) under the “W” column. This game will likely come down to who plays defense. Both teams have shown an ability to move the ball by land and by air but I think the difference maker in this game will be who can stop the run. On paper it looks like Tennessee State has the advantage here as they have only allowed an average of 3.16 YPC across their three games but their three games were 3 of the worst teams in the FCS (TSU’s opponents currently have a combined record of 2-11) and UT-Martin. This game will tell us a lot about where both teams stand.
Prediction: Tennessee State’s defense steps up late in the game and TSU escapes with the win.
TSU- 34 EIU- 28
Tennessee Tech @ #2 Jacksonville State 2PM EST (ESPN3)
Jacksonville State is finally entering conference play with a visit from the Golden Eagles. After knocking off EKU in Richmond last week TTU will likely look to pull another upset this weekend but after the performance JSU put on in Lynchburg and upset seems like a tall order. That said, this season of college football has been packed full of weird upsets and near misses so the Gamecocks should still be on high alert. This will be new Tennessee Tech head coach Marcus Satterfield’s first game against Jacksonville State with John Grass at the helm and his first game against JSU since 2012 when he was Russ Huesman’s offensive coordinator at Chattanooga. Expect Tennessee Tech to come out slinging the ball trying to expose JSU’s secondary. If the Golden Eagles can move the ball through the air and limit big plays by Eli Jenkins and company they should be in with a chance at another upset.
Prediction: JSU’s defensive line terrorizes Tech’s offense and big plays by Jenkins put the game out of reach for Tech.
JSU- 42 TTU- 10
Murray State will have a bye week before hosting UTM on the 15th.