Panthers back in hunt with win; a look around OVC


Bryan Bund

Redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Kimble prepares for a snap Saturday agaisnt Tennessee State at O’Brien Field. Kimble completed 19-of-31 attempts for 180-yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Panthers needed a win Saturday to keep a realistic hope of winning the Ohio Valley Conference Championship.

The one loss to Southeast Missouri may hurt them in the end, but every team in the OVC has at least one loss besides Jacksonville State. Gamecocks won their first OVC game of the season Saturday 40-21 over Tennessee Tech.

Eastern and OVC favorites Jacksonville State will square off in three weeks down in Jacksonville, Ala.

The Panthers have still have a chance to win the OVC championship but if they don’t show up ready to play each week, any team can beat them, Coach Dameron said. And Southeast Missouri showed that last week against the Panthers.

Eastern didn’t play a perfect game against Tennessee State either, but still came out with the win.

“We were able to make one more play it seems like they did,” Dameron said. “It was satisfying to get out there and play again and get our offense (going).”

Dameron said the Panthers don’t worry about whom they are playing, and instead have to fix themselves first. Adding not being ready to take on the opponent is what gets you hurt.

Next up for the Panthers is Tennessee Tech on the road, a team Dameron said is a much-improved team from last year.

“If you don’t show up you can get beat by every team in this league,” he said. “I feel like we can win out, but we could get beat by every team in this league if we don’t show up and get ready to play.”

A Look Around the OVC

 Jacksonville State vs. Tennessee Tech: 40-21 JSU

 For Jacksonville State, playing in the OVC has been complete domination. Saturday’s win against Tennessee Tech marks 18 OVC contests wins in a row, dating back to the final OVC game of 2013.

The Gamecocks were able to put up 446 yards of offense, even with quarterback Eli Jenkins on the sideline for the second half.

The Gamecock defense forced five turnovers in the game while allowing Tennessee Tech only 229 yards of total offense, well below their season average.

Tennessee-Martin vs. Austin Peay: 45-31 UTM

 The struggles continued for the Governors, who lost their fourth straight game and dropped to 0-4 on the season.

Austin Peay was able to put up 31 points, but Tennessee-Martin dominated the Governors on offense.

The Skyhawks led by 35 points in the fourth quarter after scoring five of the first six touchdowns to start the game.

Tennessee-Martin put up 568 yards of total offense on the Governors with 380 of those yards coming through the air. Ben Axline had eight catches for 198 yards.

Eastern Kentucky vs. Southeast Missouri: 31-16 EKU

 A week after SEMO got a win due to the Eastern defense falling apart on two plays and shutting down the Panther offense almost completely, Eastern Kentucky turned the tables on them to earn the victory.

Southeast Missouri saw a 6-0 lead wiped away as Eastern Kentucky scored 24 unanswered points.

A lot of the time, if a team puts up big yards, it is the quarterback having himself a good day. That has been the case for Eastern Kentucky the past two weeks.

Bennie Coney, the Eastern Kentucky quarterback, threw for over 300-yards for the second-straight game. The Colonels put up 527 yards of total offense on the struggling Austin Peay Governors.

With three losses in the OVC, Austin Peay can be pretty much eliminated from an OVC Championship.

Back to Eastern:

 The Panthers have their starting quarterback back running the offense that seemed to lose a stride against Southeast Missouri. Redshirt senior running back Devin Church said having redshirt junior Mitch Kimble back will help get Eastern back on track.

Kimble showed his dual-threat abilities with a rushing touchdown and throwing two passing touchdowns to Church.

Even though Eastern did not play a perfect game Saturday, like Dameron said, having the running game rushing for over 200 yards, and having a quarterback who can run past teams, or find open receivers on any given plays.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]