Week 1 Ohio Valley FCS Football Game Breakdowns

Week 1 Ohio Valley Conference Game Breakdowns

For the most part the Ohio Valley Conference will spend their first weekend paying some bills. Six of the nine teams are hitting the road to face FBS competition. While the competition may be tough, that does not mean the games will be blowouts.


Southeast Missouri at Central Michigan, Thursday, 7:00

Southeast Missouri will kick off the 65th season of OVC football on Thursday night when they head to Mount Pleasant to take on the Chippewas of Central Michigan. This will turn into a battle between the Redhawks solid defense against CMU’s potent offense. The good news is that there should be plenty of scoring for both sides and that is always a fun way to kick off the season. SEMO linebacker Blake Peiffer is one of the best in the nation and should cause some havoc for Central Michigan’s offense. But when it comes to defending Central Michigan, it is all about stopping the pass and the Redhawks may lack the depth and talent in the secondary to stop quarterback Ryan Radcliff and receiver Cody Wilson.

Projected Score: Southeast Missouri 20, Central Michigan 38


Southern Illinois at Eastern Illinois, Thursday, 7:30

Eastern Illinois will be ushering in a new era on Thursday night. After 25 years as the head coach of EIU, Coach Bob Spoo retired at the end of the 2011 campaign. Coach Dino Babers will be making his head coaching debut after making a lot of stops since being an assistant coach for the Panthers back in 1987. He spent time as an assistant coach at places like Purdue, Arizona, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, UCLA and, most recently, Baylor. But this is a rebuilding year, or more likely years, for Eastern Illinois. Southern Illinois may be coming off of a disappointing 2011 season, but they will be looking to get a good start to the 2012 campaign.

Projected Score: Southern Illinois 24, Eastern Illinois 10


Hampton at Tennessee Tech, Thursday, 8:00

Tennessee Tech is coming off of a great season in which they reached the playoffs. The road back starts on Thursday night when Hampton comes to town. The Golden Eagles return a stellar defense and quarterback Tre Lamb and that experience should be enough to knock off the Pirates in this early season showdown. And a win here is vital for Tennessee Tech since the schedule gets absolutely brutal very soon.

Projected Score: Hampton 10, Tennessee Tech, 31


#16 Eastern Kentucky at Purdue, Saturday, 3:30

This one could be a great game. Eastern Kentucky has a ton of talent returning on offense and should be able to pick up right where they left off. The experienced offensive line will be tested by Purdue’s superstar tackle Kawann Short, but EKU should be able to keep with the Boilermakers offensively. Stopping Purdue may be a bigger issue. This is not the Purdue offense of old and nobody will mistake quarterback Caleb Terbush for Bob Griese or Drew Brees, but he is a returning starter with plenty of experience. Akeem Shavers will get plenty of opportunities to break down the EKU defense on the ground. To pull off the upset, the Colonels will need to win the turnover battle and hope that their new look secondary is ready to roll. They may be able to hang around for a while and make things interesting, but in the end this is a pretty decent Big Ten team.

Projected Score: Eastern Kentucky 17, Purdue 34


#24 Murray State at Florida State, Saturday, 6:00

Everybody is looking forward to quarterback Casey Brockman shredding apart some defenses this year while running the “Hatch Attack,” but we will have to wait a while before we see it in all of its glory. Going up against the talent and depth of Florida State will not show off what Murray State can really do on either side of the ball. Check on the Racers later, but this one might be worth skipping.

Projected Score: Murray State 10, Florida State 41


Austin Peay at Western Kentucky, Saturday, 7:00

Western Kentucky surprised everybody by going 7-5 last season. The members of the Sun Belt Conference have been FBS bottom feeders since they started their transition to college football’s highest level in 2007. WKU may not be as good this year, but Austin Peay is no powerhouse either and it is likely the Governors will wind up on the bottom of the OVC standings when all is said and done. Teams like that do not beat FBS schools, even if it is Western Kentucky.

Projected Score: Austin Peay 3, Western Kentucky 35


Florida A&M at Tennessee State, Saturday, 7:00

This should be one of the more competitive games involving an OVC team in week one. Tennessee State should be competing for a conference title if their defense can improve and Florida A&M is expected to be right in the mix for a MEAC crown. Both squads will be looking to get off on the right foot. Tigers quarterback Michael German is just a sophomore, but he is the returning starter and should lead a potent offense for Tennessee State. However, the defense has some major holes to fill and the Rattlers will look to take advantage of an inexperienced front seven and a secondary that was very suspect in 2011. The home crowd at LP Field could make all of the difference.

Projected Score: Florida A&M 17, Tennessee State 21


Tennessee-Martin at Memphis, Saturday, 7:00

If you are looking for a win over an FBS program, look no further than this matchup. Memphis is simply bad and is breaking in a new coach after just two forgettable seasons under their former leader. The rebuilding has begun again for the Tigers. Tennessee-Martin can put up a lot of points and quarterback Derek Carr and running backs Jason McNair and Tevin Barksdale should be able to move the ball against Memphis. And Memphis is not exactly an offensive juggernaut either. With eight starters returning for UTM on the defensive side of the ball, they could give a Tigers team that scored over seven points in just seven of their 12 games last year a good game. It may not be pretty, but it could be close.

Projected Score: Tennessee-Martin 10, Memphis 13


#12 Jacksonville State at Arkansas

Remember last time an OVC team knocked off an FBS opponent? It was just back in 2010 when the Gamecocks stunned Mississippi 49-48 in double overtime. Jacksonville State will be taking on another SEC team to kick off the 2012 season, but Arkansas is not Ole Miss. The Gamecocks have plenty of talent and will be a force in the OVC, but the Razorbacks have way too much offensive firepower and defensive depth to allow JSU to stick around for too long.

Projected Score: Jacksonville State 10, Arkansas 48


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns