OVC Notebook: Eastern near top of conference standings


Bryan Bund | The Daily Eastern News

Junior Isaiah Johnson cuts to the left on a run in the Panthers’ 19-16 win over Southeast Missouri Saturday at O’Brien Field. Eastern continues OVC play this weekend at Tennessee State.

Maher Kawash, Football Reporter


The Eastern football team is set for its second Ohio Valley Conference matchup of the season this week, and after one week in the books there is still plenty of balance.

The Panthers found their way to the top for now with a victory over Southeast Missouri State while some teams such as Jacksonville State begin conference play this week.

For Eastern, conference play rolls on with a road game at Tennessee State. The Panthers are in search of breaking their .500 record.

That is the story for most of the conference, as the non-conference slate offered some up and down results.

Tennnesee-Martin and Jacksonville State are the only teams above .500 on the young season, both fresh off wins.

Tennessee-Martin opened its OVC slate with a 31-16 victory over Tennessee State and now turns focus to a matchup against Austin Peay, in which both teams come in at 1-0.

The matchup is a road game for the Skyhawks. Their only loss of the season was on the road, but that came againt FBS opponent Ole Miss.

Jacksonville State is set to be a favorite to win the conference once again and to back that they begin action against Tennessee Tech.

The Gamecocks’ one loss this season came against an FBS opponent too, with a 37-10 defeat against Georgia Tech.

The matchup against Tennessee Tech is Jacksonville State’s third road game in four weeks.

As for the rest of the OVC, Eastern Kentucky is the other 1-0 team, after they escaped against Tennessee Tech with a 24-21 victory one week ago.

This week they face a struggling Southeast Missouri squad that has lost seven consecutive games dating back to last season, so there is a solid chance to stay atop the OVC.

Eastern Kentucky has seen its fair share of competition as well, and that may be a factor why its overall record is 1-2.

The Colonels opened their season against some tougher FBS opponents with matchups against Western Kentucky and Kentucky as each loss came by more than ten points.

It is still way too early in the conference slate, but right now the bottom of the conference is held out by three teams struggling to find any momentum this season.

As mentioned before, Southeast Missouri is in the midst of a losing streak, but Murray State and Tennessee Tech are right there too.

Tennessee Tech has lost all four of its game to begin the season with key losses to Ball State and Western Illinois.

Murray State has not faced the greatest competition to start, but has lost three straight with their biggest test coming two weeks ago against Missouri State.

A one-score defeat on the road is tough to swallow, but a conference opening loss to Austin Peay did not help either.

The conference is sure to shake up some more this weekend as favorites will begin to emerge.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]