Eastern Kentucky (2-7, 1-5 OVC) @ Austin Peay (0-9, 0-7 OVC) 5PM EST (OVCDN)
Well this is it for Austin Peay. Will they get a win before the end of the season? We will know tomorrow night (because they have zero chance of beating Kentucky next weekend). The Gov’s will host a Colonels team that has been plagued with inconsistent play all year. The Colonels have had trouble with the running game, the defense, and most notably, quarterback play. Colonel’s QB Bennie Coney comes into the penultimate game of the season having thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (8) and the Gov’s will look to take advantage of the Colonel’s inconsistency to come away with the upset that will snap their 25 game losing streak. Expect the Govs to spread the field on offense and use their ability to pass to open up the running game. The challenge for the Colonels will be not beating themselves and playing a complete game.
Prediction: Austin Peay pulls off the upset in a close one thanks to a couple EKU turnovers.
Southeast Missouri State (3-6, 2-1 OVC) @ Tennessee-Martin (6-4, 2-3 OVC) 3PM EST (OVCDN)
If UT-Martin wants a shot at the playoffs this game is a must win. If the Skyhawks can win out they will unseat JSU from the OVC championship thus giving them the conference auto-bid to the playoffs but first thing is first, they must beat SEMO. SEMO is coming into this game after starring in an ugly episode of Last Chance U with Jacksonville State. The Redhawks will likely come into the game looking to ruin someone’s season and will be out for blood. However they will have a hard time containing Troy Cook and UT-Martins potent offense. The Skyhawks have been leading the OVC in scoring offense and have been able to move the ball on everyone they’re played, including their FBS opponents. If the Skyhawks can slow down SEMO’s rushing attack they should be able to roll into Jacksonville next week with a shot at the OVC title.
Prediction: Troy Cook exposes SEMO’s defense and the Skyhawks win handily.
#3 Jacksonville State (8-1, 5-0 OVC) @ Murray State (2-4, 1-2 OVC) 2PM EST(OVCDN)
Most people will looking at this game and thinking “ahh it’s just Murray State” however, this team will probably be the toughest conference game JSU has faced so far this season. Why? Well JSU’s defense has been the story this year for the Cocks. JSU has been riding their defense to win after win as the season rolls on and the run defense is spectacular and if this defense has a “weakness” it’s in pass coverage. That said, JSU has ranked as the fifth hardest team to pass on based on opponent passer rating. However if there is a squad that can expose a secondary, it’s the Racers. KD Humphries has been having another spectacular year as he’s thrown for 2600 yards (8th in the FCS) in 8 games with 20 TDs against just 8 interceptions. He’s completing an impressive 66% of his passes and is ranked in the top 20 for FCS passer rating. Even though Humphries can be a weapon, his supporting cast isn’t nearly as lethal. Humphries has been sacked 23 times in 8 games and will have his hands full with JSU’s pass rush. I expect another strong defensive performance from the Gamecocks and it will be interesting to see if the offense can fix their penalty-fueled mediocrity.
Prediction: Humphries spends most of the afternoon his back. Cocks by two touchdowns.
Tennessee Tech (3-6,3-3 OVC) @ Tennessee State (6-3, 3-2 OVC) 7PM EST (ESPN3)
Tennessee State still has a chance at the playoffs. If they win out they will be an 8 win team. However, their issue is their schedule which is pretty awful. Like, Sam Houston State awful. If the Tigers want to be considered for an at-large bid they need to ROLL the last two teams on their schedule and leave no doubt. Tech and SEMO should theoretically be wins by a solid margin and if TSU can deliver and the rest of the playoff field shakes down the right way the Tigers could sneak their way in but they have to win impressively. I expect the Tigers defense will do their best to get at Birdsong but I think Birdsong will give them all they want and then some. Tennessee State needs a blowout but I expect a close one.
Prediction: Birdsong’s performance leads Tech to a close win over the Tigers Nashville.