Austin Peay on the brink of winning OVC

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News
Dylan Hughes returns a kickoff for 20 yards in Eastern’s 26-12 loss against Southeast Missouri on Nov. 16th at O’Brien Field.

The Daily Eastern News

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News Dylan Hughes returns a kickoff for 20 yards in Eastern’s 26-12 loss against Southeast Missouri on Nov. 16th at O’Brien Field.

JJ Bullock, Editor-In-Chief

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The final week of the Ohio Valley Conference football season has arrived and all Austin Peay (8-3, 6-1 OVC) has to do to win the conference is beat last place Eastern (1-10, 1-6 OVC).

Yes, the cards are in the Governors favor: beat Eastern on Saturday and secure an OVC championship and FCS tournament bid. Lose and Austin Peay must hope that Southeast Missouri (8-3, 6-1 OVC) loses as well.

In an OVC season that has been quite complicated, the final week comes with an easy to understand scenario: Austin Peay wins and they are conference champions. Austin Peay loses and Southeast Missouri beats Murray State (4-5, 2-7 OVC) and the Redhawks are OVC champions.

At the beginning of the season, most people expected Jacksonville State (6-5, 3-4 OVC) to repeat as conference champions for a fifth year in a row, but the Gamecocks put together one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory and fell out of the conference championship conversation weeks ago.

Then, it looked like Tennessee-Martin (7-4, 6-2 OVC) would be the team to beat in the conference, but then the Skyhawks lost to both Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri, and they too fell out of the championship conversation.

Now, we are left with two teams, Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri.

Austin Peay beat Southeast Missouri in the team’s head-to-head matchup on Oct. 12 28-24 and that is why the Governors can clinch the conference with a win.

Austin Peay could have clinched the conference last week, but on Oct. 19, just a week after beating Southeast Missouri, Austin Peay lost a head-scratcher to Tennessee State (2-9, 1-6 OVC), leaving the Redhawks with a window to win the conference in the final week.

Neither team has a particularly difficult final game, but the odds would favor Austin Peay to beat Eastern and clinch the conference more so than they would favor the Governors to lose and Southeast Missouri to beat Murray State.

JJ’s season awards (teams)

Best team- Austin Peay

Biggest disappointment- Jacksonville State

Biggest surprise- Tennessee-Martin

Most confusing team- Tennessee Tech

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]