Another near-upset by an Ohio Valley Conference team over a Southeastern Conference team, took place in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday night.
Eastern Kentucky, which is ranked No. 17 in the Football Championship Subdivision, was defeated by in-state foe and Football Bowl Subdivision member Kentucky in overtime. In fact the Colonels had a 14-point lead with 7:39 remaining in the game. But two late touchdowns by the Wildcats by the end of regulation tied the game at 27.
The Wildcats scored on their first possession in overtime, when junior quarterback Patrick Towles hit sophomore wide receiver Dorian Baker for a three-yard score. The Colonels then took over on offense, and were aided by a pass interference call that put them in the red zone.
With the ball at the Wildcats 11-yard line, Eastern Kentucky couldn’t reach the end zone or the first down marker. A 12-yard loss by senior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley didn’t help the Colonels didn’t help the Colonels drive.
Facing their last chance to get the yardage, the Colonels tried to run a wide receiver pass play. That play resulted in freshman wide receiver Arien Beasley being sacked, as the Wildcats took home the victory. Kentucky improved to 4-1 on the season, while the Colonels fell to 2-2.
The Colonels would’ve been the first team in the OVC to pull off an upset against an FBS opponent, but they wouldn’t be the only one that came close.
Jacksonville State, ranked No. 5 in the nation, was defeated by the FBS’s No. 6 ranked team Auburn in overtime. The Gamecocks owned several leads during that contest, but a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson to senior wide receiver Melvin Ray sent the game into overtime.
Auburn, like Kentucky, scored on its first possession, and stopped the Gamecocks on the next drive, for the 27-20 victory.
Both the Colonels and the Gamecocks are considered favorites for the OVC crown this year. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 7 in the preseason, while the Colonels were No. 16 in the nation. Both teams will visit Charleston in November.
SEMO players OVC weekly honors
This weekend’s opponent for the Panthers on Saturday, will be coming in with two players who earned all-conference honors this week.
Southeast Missouri senior wide receiver Paul McRoberts caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, as the Redhawks defeated Murray State 27-10. One of his catches earned a spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays at No. 5.
During that play, McRoberts outjumped a Racer defensive back on the run, and caught the ball as it was heading behind him. The catch gained 44 yards for the Redhawks, and led to McRoberts second touchdown of the game.
He was named the OVC offensive player of the week, while another teammate earned co-defensive player of the week.
Sophomore linebacker Chad Meredith tackled 10 Racer players, including two for loss in the win. He made a huge tackle in a critical moment of the game. The Redhawks were backed deep into their own red zone at the four-yard line on fourth down, when it happened.
Meredith crashed through the Racers line and tackled the running back for a loss of 10 yards, which was one-of-three fourth down stops made by the Redhawks defense that night.
To top off the eventful weekend for the Redhawks, junior running back Tremane McCullough was named the conference newcomer of the week. He ran for 220 yards on 27 carries, and scored a touchdown in the victory.
The transfer from Arizona Western Community College also caught four passes for 18 yards. His rushing yards were the most by an OVC player in a single game this season, and his third straight 100-yard rushing performance.
Eastern will face that trio of Redhawks at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]