OVC football teams ready for conference


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern defensive end Jordan Miles tackles Illinois State quarterback Bryce Jefferson in a game against the Redbirds on Sept. 18 at O’Brien Field. Miles had 5 total tackles in the game, an 31-24 loss for the Panthers.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

With Week 3 of nonconference play coming to an end for the OVC, the first conference games of the season will be played this week as the teams prepare for Week 4.  

Tennessee-Martin, Tennessee State, and Austin Peay all recorded wins in Week 3 as three teams are still searching for their first win of the season.  

The first conference game of the season will be Eastern taking on Tennessee Tech at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.  

Both Tennessee Tech and Eastern are coming off losses in Week 3. 

Eastern, who currently ranks last in the conference, lost 31-24 in the 109th Mid-America Classic to Illinois State. Panther quarterback Otto Kuhns was 16-of-32 passing for 204 yards and 1 touchdown. The Panthers recorded a total of 168 passing yards in comparison to the Redbirds’ 54 yards.  

The Panthers rank first in the OVC and sixth nationally in pass defense, averaging 115 yards per game.  

Tennessee Tech is first in the OVC and 18th nationally in kick return defense, averaging 15 yards/returns per game.  

The Golden Eagles suffered their second-straight shutout, losing 56-0 to the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols put up 417 yards of offense, including 202 yards on the ground and 215 yards through the air against the Golden Eagles.  

Defensively, the Golden Eagles are led by defensive back Josh Reliford. Reliford had a team-high of 11 tackles against the Vols. Reliford ranks first in the OVC and 34th nationally in tackles, averaging 9 a game.  

The next conference matchup will be between Tennesse State and Southeast Missouri.  

Tennesse State recorded their first win of the season with a 41-7 win over Kentucky State last Saturday. It was the Tigers’ 26th consecutive victory in the series which was last played in 1984. The Tigers had a season-high of 538 yards and held the Thorobreds to just 141 total yards. 

Offensively, the Tigers are led by quarterback Geremy Hickbottom who was 15-of-25 against the Thorobreds, passing for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns.  

The Tigers currently lead the OVC in total defense, averaging 243 yards a per game.  

Southeast Missouri was trailing Missouri 38-0 at halftime on Saturday, outscored Missouri 28-21 in the second half, but ultimately lost 59-28 against the Tigers. The Tigers finished with 458 yards and held the Redhawks to 69 yards in the first half.  

Redhawk quarterback CJ Ogbonna was 7-of-14 passing for 53 yards and 1 interception. 

Austin Peay, who is currently leading the OVC, recorded its second win of the season with a 59-35 win over Morehead State during their home opener. It was the fourth straight win for Austin Peay against FCS opponents. It was also the most points the team had scored since 2018. 

The No. 19 Governors finished the game with 580 yards of total offense. The team also had 381 passing yards during the game, which is the fourth-most in APSU single-game history.  

Governor Quarterback Draylen Ellis passed for a career-high of 350 yards and three touchdowns. Ellis currently ranks seventh nationally in passing touchdowns with 8 and ninth in total passing yards with 898.  

Tennessee-Martin defeated its second-straight FCS opponent with a 35-10 win over Northwestern State. It marked the team’s first back-to-back non-conference victories since 2008. The Skyhawks are currently ranked second in the OVC. 

Skyhawk senior running back Peyton Logan was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week following the win over the Demons. He ran for a career high of 179 yards on 14 carries and ranks fourth nationally in rushing yards with 10 per game.  


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]