NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Legendary Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt will be honored as the 12th Titan in a special ceremony prior to kickoff of the Tennessee Titans home opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Sept. 9. In addition, Titans owner K.S.”Bud” Adams, Jr. will donate $25,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation in an effort to raise awareness and help find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.
“I am very thankful for the generous support of Mr. Bud Adams and the Tennessee Titans’ franchise,” said Summitt. “My son, Tyler and I have enjoyed attending Tennessee Titans games and cheering for our home state football team. I am humbled and excited that the Tennessee Titans have joined our team in fighting Alzheimer’s disease through the The Pat Summitt Foundation.”
Summitt served as the head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team for 38 seasons and is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history for men’s and women’s teams. During her tenure, the Lady Vols won eight NCAA titles as well as a combined 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships.
On Aug. 22, 2011, Summitt raised the bar on courage as she bravely revealed the toughest opponent she will ever have to battle, early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Summitt intends to take on this opponent with her signature game plan. Shortly after diagnosis, she announced the formation of the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund with the proceeds going toward cutting-edge research. The “We Back Pat” campaign was quickly started and went viral in the social media world following Summitt’s medical announcement. A t-shirt was born with the slogan, and proceeds started pouring into Summitt-picked organizations, Alzheimer’s Tennessee and the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
The Titans also are announcing their fifth annual CODE BLUE for the week of Sept. 3 and are asking fans to show their Titans’ spirit by wearing Titans Light Blue to work, school and the game against the Patriots.
In the spirit of Code Blue week, fans can attend the first-ever Titans Code Blue Pep Rally on Friday, Sept. 7th at the Music City Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville from 4:00-7:30 pm. The free event sponsored by LP and Pinnacle will include live music and entertainment, games, food and appearances by Titans cheerleaders, T-Rac and some special guests.
The Titans are urging fans to get in their seats early to enjoy the Pat Summitt ceremony, as well as participate in a unique card stunt that will turn LP Field blue prior to kickoff.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.—The Rick Christophel Radio Show, normally broadcast on Thursday night, will be held 6 p.m., Wednesday night from Edward’s Steakhouse in downtown Clarksville.
With Austin Peay’s football team leaving Thursday after practice for Blacksburg, Va., it was decided to push forward by one day the head coach’s show.
Broadcast on the Governors Sports Network from Edward’s on Franklin Street, the show features Christophel discussing the previous week’s action while previewing coming action with host Brian Rives.
Assistant coaches also will make appearances. Fans can ask questions by visiting LetsGoPeay.com, going to Football and clicking on the Rick Christophel Show icon.
Prior to the beginning of the season, OVC cross country coaches made their predictions for the 2012 season. On the men’s side Eastern Kentucky was picked as the favorites (121 points, 11 first-place votes) and was followed by Eastern Illinois (103), Southeast Missouri (99), Belmont (93, 1 first-place vote), SIUE (73), Morehead State (72), Jacksonville State (57), UT Martin (51), Tennessee Tech (41), Austin Peay (39), Murray State (26) and Tennessee State (17). Eastern Illinois was picked as the women’s preseason favorite (116 points, 7 first-place votes) and was followed by Eastern Kentucky (110, 3 first-place votes), Belmont (96, 2 first-place votes), Southeast Missouri (89), Murray State (85), Morehead State (68), Jacksonville State (58), SIUE (57), Austin Peay (45), UT Martin (32), Tennessee Tech (25) and Tennessee State (11). This year marks the first time the OVC has had 12 schools competing in its cross country championship, as Belmont and SIUE will compete in the event for the first time.
n the first set of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings, the Eastern Kentucky men are ranked 29th nationally. In the regional rankings the Eastern Kentucky men are No. 2 in the Southeast Region while the Belmont men are No. 6 in the South Region. The Belmont women’s team is No. 10 in the South Region. The next set of USTFCCCA polls will be released on Sept. 10.
Austin Peay: Austin Peay started the 2012 season as one of five OVC teams to compete at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. The women’s team was 12th out of 21 teams at the 5K distance while the men’s team was 20th in the 4-mile event. Junior Xiamar Richards led the women’s team with a 35th place finish, her 12th top 40 finish of her career. She covered the course in 20:14.00. Konnor Kessler was the men’s top finisher (23:50.32). Austin Peay will return to the course this week at the PowerAde Invitational in Chattanooga.
Belmont: Belmont began its first season in the OVC by hosting the Belmont/Vanderbilt Cross Country Opener at Percy Ward Park in Nashville. The men’s team was third out of nine teams while the women’s team also took third place (in a field of eight). In a field that included seven teams ranked in the USTFCCCA regional poll, sophomore David Everett was 13th overall in a time of 15:50.60. On the women’s side Mia Elbon, who was the A-Sun Freshman of the Year in 2011, led the women’s squad with a fifth place finish (14:32.40). The Bruins are back in action in two weeks at the Commodore Classic.
Eastern Illinois: Eastern Illinois will begin the season on Friday night when it hosts the Walt Crawford Open.
Eastern Kentucky: Eastern Kentucky got the 2012 season off on the right foot, sweeping the men’s and women’s team and individual titles at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday. Both teams bested fields that included 20 other teams, including four other OVC schools. On the men’s side junior Soufiane Bouchikhi finished first with a 4-mile time of 20:43.95, which was just ahead of teammates Thijs Nijhuis (20:43.99) and Ben Toroitich (20:44.03). Overall the Colonels, who are ranked 29th nationally, had 10 of the top 15 runners overall in the meet, which had 203 total competitors. The women’s team had four of the top six finishers with freshman Meri Rantanen winning in a 5K time of 18:11.74 in her collegiate debut. Her sister Viivi Rantanen was third overall (18:35.65) in her first race with the Colonels. For their performances Bouchikhi and Rantanen were named adidas® OVC Runners of the Week. EKU returns to the course in two weeks at the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic in Nashville.
Jacksonville State: Jacksonville State opened its season by sweeping the team titles at its own event, the Struts Season Opener, held on the course where the OVC Championship will be held later this season. Sophomore Mickey Sanders won the second individual crown of his career, finishing the 5K race in 16:21, two seconds ahead of teammate Matt Brick and three seconds ahead of teammate Nick Hager. The women’s team was paced by senior Kailey Jensen who finished second in a 2-mile time of 12:05. The Gamecocks will return to competition in two weeks at the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic in Nashville.
Morehead State: Competing in a strong field of 21 teams, the Morehead State men’s team was second overall (behind only OVC foe Eastern Kentucky) while the women’s squad was fifth overall at the Brooks Memphis Twilight. The men’s squad topped three teams who were ranked regionally in the USTFCCCA polls and were led by junior Zachariah Elliott who was eighth out of 203 runners with a 4-mile time of 21:04.33. The Eagles top five runners all finished in the Top 40 overall. The women’s team was led by Morgan Lira who placed 15th in a 5K time of 19:42.0. MSU is back on the course in two weeks at the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic in Nashville.
Murray State: Murray State was one of five OVC teams to run at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday night. The Racers women’s team was fourth out of 21 squads while the men placed 17th overall. Freshman Abbie Ashbee-Simmonds was the team’s top finisher, placing eighth overall with a 5K time of 19:03.93 in her collegiate debut. The men were led by Lucas Prather who was 50th in a field of 203 runners with a time of 22:20.01. The Racers return to action in two weeks at the Commodore Classic in Nashville.
Southeast Missouri: Southeast Missouri opened the 2012 season with each its men’s and women’s teams winning titles at the Washington University Early Bird in St. Louis on Saturday. The Redhawks men’s team topped 14 other squads while the women’s team bested 16 other teams. Junior Brent Collins led the men’s runners with a fourth place finish (19:28.4) while sophomore Rebekah Lawson was second in the field of 140 runners with a 4K time of 14:36.2. Southeast Missouri is off this week but back in two weeks at the SIUE Cross Country Challenge.
SIUE: SIUE will open the 2012 season on Friday night when it travels to Charleston, Ill. to compete in the Walt Crawford Open hosted by Eastern Illinois.
Tennessee State: Tennessee State will kick off the 2012 campaign on Friday at the PowerAde Invitational in Chattanooga.
Tennessee Tech: Tennessee Tech did not run in a meet this week but will debut on Saturday at the Huntsville Invitational in Huntsville, Ala.
UT Martin: UT Martin opened the year at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday. The Skyhawks men were 15th overall while the women’s team was 11th. Senior Amanda Wardlaw was the Skyhawks top finisher, placing 30th out of 185 runners with a 5K time of 20:07.40. The men were paced by freshman Justin Morgan who was 55th out of 203 runners with a 4-mile time of 22:31.55. UTM is back in action on Friday night at the PowerAde Invitational.
This Week’s Schedule
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Walt Crawford Open (Charleston, Ill.)
Eastern Illinois, SIUE
PowerAde Invitational (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Austin Peay, Tennessee State, UT Martin
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Huntsville Invitational (Huntsville, Ala.)
adidas® OVC Runners of the Week
MALE RUNNER OF THE WEEK
Soufiane Bouchikhi • Eastern Kentucky
Jr. • Antwerp, Belgium
Bouchikhi, the two-time defending OVC Champion, began his junior campaign by placing first out of 203 competitors at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday. Bouchikhi covered the 4-mile course in a time of 20:43.95 which was just ahead of a pair of his Eastern Kentucky teammates. The performance helped the Colonels to the team title at the event, besting 20 other teams, including four other OVC schools.
Others Nominated: David Everett, Belmont; Mickey Sanders, Jacksonville State; Zachariah Elliott, Morehead State; Brent Collins, Southeast Missouri; Justin Morgan, UT Martin.
FEMALE RUNNER OF THE WEEK
Meri Rantanen • Eastern Kentucky
Fr. • Pusula, Finland
In her collegiate debut Rantanen took first place out of 185 runners at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday. The freshman ran the 5K course in 18:11.74, which was nearly 13 seconds ahead of second place. Her performance helped the Colonels take first place out of 21 teams at the event, which also included four other OVC schools.
Others Nominated: Xiamar Richards, Austin Peay; Mia Elbon, Belmont; Kailey Jensen, Jacksonville State; Abbie Ashbee-Simmonds, Murray State; Rebekah Lawson, Southeast Missouri; Amanda Wardlaw, UT Martin.
NASHVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team ran into a hungry Lipscomb squad and fell in three sets (22-25, 15-25, 22-25), Tuesday night at Allen Arena.
Lipscomb dominated the offensive battle, posting a 52-27 advantage in kills. The Lady Govs hurt their cause with four block errors, punctuating a frustrating night on defense as they recorded on 20 digs in the three-set affair.
In the opening set, Lipscomb (2-5) started out strong with a 6-2 run. The Lady Bisons built that lead to as large as eight points, 16-8. Austin Peay would rally back with a 14-7 run to close within one point, 23-22, but could not close the gap. Lipscomb scored back-to-back kills to end the set.
Austin Peay (2-8) stuck close in the early going of Set 2, thanks to Lipscomb miscues and trailed by one point as late as 9-8. The Lady Bisons slowly gathered the momentum, leading 14-10 then 17-12 and later 19-12. Lipscomb struck a final blow with a final 5-0 run to win the set, 25-15.
Lipscomb broke out of the gate again in the third set, building a 5-2 lead. Austin Peay showed its mettle and used a 4-0 run to take a 9-8 lead later in the set. However, neither team could build a significant advantage the set’s remainder. Ultimately, Austin Peay surrendered points on a reception error and a service error to give Lipscomb control late in the frame which it used to pull off a 25-23 victory.
“The story is the same tonight as it was this weekend,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “We have to do a better job blocking and playing defense. When you don’t get the job done in those two aspects of the game the little mistakes are even more costly. We will keep working at it, we have a big weekend coming up.”
Sophomore outside hitter Jada Stotts led Austin Peay with nine kills. Junior middle blocker Lauren Henderson added six kills.
Lipscomb’s Jewell Dobson and Kaycee Green each had 14 kills to lead all hitters.
Austin Peay returns to action at the Bama Bash, Friday-Saturday, hosted by Alabama.
OVC teams started the 2012 season going a perfect 3-0 against fellow Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams as Eastern Illinois beat Southern Illinois, Tennessee Tech topped Hampton and Tennessee State bested Florida A&M.
In action against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, UT Martin topped Memphis 20-17 as Cody Sandlin connected on a 43-yard fi eld goal with four seconds remaining in the Liberty Bowl.
The win was the 19th all-time by an OVC team over a FBS opponent and fi rst since the 2010 season (when Jacksonville State beat Ole Miss)…UT Martin was previously 0-13 (0-12 while a member of the OVC) against FBS opponents dating back to the Division I split in the 1970s; it was the first loss for Memphis against a FCS foe in 23 years.
Overall UT Martin was one of four FCS schools (joining Eastern Washington, McNeese State and Youngstown State) to beat a FBS opponent to open the season, other OVC teams were 0-5 against FBS opponents during Week 1 of the season.
EIU quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named National All-Star of the Week by College Sporting News and the National Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance
Awards (CFPA) after throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s win over SIU.
UT Martin (Northern Illinois), Eastern Illinois (Western Michigan) and Austin Peay (Virginia Tech) will face FBS opponents during Week 2 of the 2012 season..
This week’s games feature five contests that can be seen on the OVC Digital Network and two additional games that will be available on ESPN3
This Week’s Schedule
Thursday, September 6
North Greenville at Tennessee Tech, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Saturday, September 8
Austin Peay at #16 Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Morehead State at #21 Eastern Kentucky, 5:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Eastern Illinois at Western Michigan, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
Chattanooga at #24 Jacksonville State, 6:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Mars Hill College at Southeast Missouri, 6:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
#20 Central Arkansas at Murray State, 6:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Tennessee State vs. Jackson State, 6:00 p.m. (Memphis, Tenn.)
UT Martin at Northern Illinois, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
adidas® OVC Players of the Week
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB • Jr., 6-3, 206 • Arlington Heights, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo became just the seventh Eastern Illinois quarterback to pass for five or more touchdowns in a game as the Panthers opened the season with a 49-28 win over rival Southern Illinois. The junior completed 32-of-49 passes for a career-high 369 yards and five touchdowns. Garoppolo threw touchdowns passes to four different receivers and the touchdowns went for 2, 14, 50, 11 and 31 yards. The five touchdowns moved him into fifth in EIU history (39) while the 369 passing yards were the 15th-best single-game effort in school history.
Others Nominated: Alan Bonner, Jacksonville State; Scott Lathrop, Southeast Missouri; Michael German, Tennessee State; Tre Lamb, Tennessee Tech; Jason McNair, UT Martin.
Brooklyn Fox, DB • R-Sr., 6-4, 215 • Tulsa, Okla. • Eastern Kentucky
Fox intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble in Eastern Kentucky’s season-opening loss at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe Purdue. The senior’s first interception came on the Boilermakers first drive of the game, picking off a pass at EKU’s own 34-yard line. Fox also picked off a pass at the EKU 30-yard line in the second quarter, returning it 46 yards to the Purdue 24-yard line. The fumble recovery came early in the fourth quarter, setting the Colonels up at the Purdue 20-yard line. Fox was the first EKU player to tally three turnovers in a game since 2009 (Patrick McClellan).
Others Nominated: DJ Bland, Eastern Illinois; Rashad Smith, Jacksonville State; George Neuhaus, Southeast Missouri; Nick Thrasher, Tennessee State; Marty Jones, Tennessee Tech; Chris Wright, UT Martin.
Cody Sandlin, K • Sr., 6-2, 180 • Goodlettsville, Tenn. • UT Martin
After missing his first two field goal attempts of the night, Sandlin was money when it mattered, converting two field goals in the final five minutes of the game to give UT Martin a 20-17 victory at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe Memphis. The win was the first for the Skyhawks over a FBS opponent and just the 19th all-time win for an OVC team against the higher subdivision. With 4:52 to play Sandlin connected on a 26-yard attempt to give UTM a 17-10 advantage. His most important kick of the game came with four seconds remaining, as the senior connected from 43-yards out to break a 17-17 tie and give the Skyhawks the victory.
Others Nominated: Tavares Crawford, Eastern Illinois; Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State, Steven Mix, Murray State; Joe Vucic, Southeast Missouri; Jamin Godfrey, Tennessee State; Zach Sharp, Tennessee Tech.
Troymaine Pope, RB • Fr., 5-9, 198 • Anniston, Ala. • Jacksonville State
In his collegiate debut Pope carried the ball 14 times for 65 yards (4.6 yards/carry) and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in Jacksonville State’s loss at No. 10 Arkansas. The touchdown catch came with 40 seconds to play in the first quarter and tied the game at seven against the high-powered Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team. Pope had a long run of 23 yards in the contest and was the team’s leading rusher.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR • Jr., 6-3, 205 • Calhoun, Ga. • Tennessee Tech
In his Tennessee Tech debut Rogers, the transfer from Tennessee who joined the team just days before the game, caught three passes for 75 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown with four seconds to play in the first half. That touchdown was setup by his 52-yard catch earlier in the same drive. The score put Tennessee Tech up 24-7 in a game it would go on to win 41-31.
Others Nominated: LeQuince McCall, Eastern Illinois; Darian Yahyavi, Murray State; Scott Lathrop, Southeast Missouri; A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
Notes From Around the Gridiron
OVC Teams Versus FBS Foes: OVC schools will play 11 games against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) this season, with six of those matchups coming in Week 1 of the season. In week one of the season UT Martin topped Memphis 20-17 in the Liberty Bowl as Cody Sandlin hit a 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. It marked the first-ever win over an FBS team for UT Martin and the first loss for Memphis against an FCS foe in 23 years. It was the first OVC win over an FBS team since the 2010 season when Jacksonville State topped Ole Miss in double overtime. Overall OVC teams are 19-152-1 all-time against FBS foes. Below is a listing of the current OVC schools and wins over FBS schools while a member of the league. Five of the wins over FBS teams for OVC teams have been accomplished by teams no longer in the OVC (Akron, Middle Tennessee, Morehead State and Youngstown State – twice) and are not listed below.
1979 – Eastern Kentucky vs. Kent State (W, 17-14)
1979 – Eastern Kentucky vs. Cal State Fullerton (W, 33-17)
1980 – Eastern Kentucky vs. East Carolina (W, 28-16)
1980 – Murray State vs. Louisville (W, 13-9)
1984 – Austin Peay vs. Central Florida (W, 24-21)
1984 – Murray State vs. Louisville (W, 26-23)
1985 – Eastern Kentucky vs. Louisville (W, 45-21)
1987 – Austin Peay vs. Kansas State (W, 25-22)
1996 – Eastern Illinois vs. Western Michigan (W, 28-20)
1998 – Eastern Illinois vs. Northern Illinois (W, 24-10)
2002 – Southeast Missouri vs. Middle Tennessee (W, 24-14)
2004 – Eastern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan (W, 31-28)
2010 – Jacksonville State vs. Ole Miss (W, 49-28, 2OT)
2012 – UT Martin vs. Memphis (W, 20-17)
FCS over FBS
Including UT Martin’s win against Memphis in Week 1 of the 2012 season, four Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams topped Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams. Other FCS teams to win included Eastern Washington (Idaho), McNeese State (Middle Tennessee) and Youngstown State (Pitt).
Garoppolo Named National All-Star By College Sporting News (Sept. 3)
Eastern Illinois junior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named a National All-Star by College Sporting News after his performance in Week 1 of the season against Southern Illinois. Garoppolo completed 32-of-49 passes for a career-high 369 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-28 victory.
OVC Teams in the Top 25
In the latest set of Top 25 polls, Eastern Kentucky is ranked 21st in the Sports Network Poll and 25th in the FCS Coaches Poll. Jacksonville State is the only other OVC team ranked, coming in at 24th in the Sports Network poll. Eastern Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin are all receiving votes in the Sports Network poll while Jacksonville State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin are each receiving votes in the FCS Coaches Poll.
NCAA Stats Leaders
In the first set of NCAA statistical leaders Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ranks first nationally in points responsible for (30.00/game), second in passing yards/game (369.0), third in total offense (366.0 yards/game), fourth in completions/game (32.0). EIU receiver Erik Lora ranks first nationally in receiving yards/game (151.0), second in receptions/game (13.0), ninth in points responsible for (18.0/game) and 15th in scoring (12.0/game). Tennessee Tech quarterback Tre Lamb is third nationally in points responsible for/game (24.0) and fifth in passing efficiency (187.65) and passing yards/game (339.0). TTU running back Adam Urbano is ninth in rushing (158.0 yards/game). Eastern Kentucky defensive back Brooklyn Fox is second in interceptions (2.0/game) while EIU defensive back DJ Bland is fourth in passes defended (3.0/game). In the team rankings Eastern Illinois ranks first nationally in fumbles recovered (4), turnovers gained (6), interceptions thrown (0) and fourth down conversion defense (0%), third in passing offense (433.0 yards/game) and fourth in kickoff returns (35.67 yards/return). Southeast Missouri ranks first nationally in turnovers lost (0), fumbles lost (0) and red zone offense (100%) and seventh in net punting (44.0 yards/punt). UT Martin ranks first nationally in sacks allowed (0) and fourth in punt return defense (-3.0 yards/game). Tennessee State ranks first nationally in fourth down conversion percentage (100%).
Five OVC Players Earns Honors From College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) For Week No. 1
Garoppolo Named National Performer of the Week: Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the National Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) after throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns in EIU’s win over Southern Illinois. Garoppolo was also named one of the organization’s National Quarterbacks of the Week, sharing the honor with Tennessee Tech’s Tre Lamb, who threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Hampton. Eastern Illinois wide receiver Erik Lora was named National Wide Receiver of the Week after catching 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Among the other wideouts sharing the award is Jacksonville State’s Alan Bonner who had eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown against No. 10 Arkansas. Eastern Kentucky defensive back Brooklyn Fox was named National Defensive Back of the Week after picking off two passes and recovering a fumble in the Colonels game at Purdue. In addition to this group seven other OVC players earned honorable mention honors for the week. The goal of CFPA is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. Recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
Murray State’s Brockman, EKU’s Denham on Walter Payton Award Watch List
Murray State senior quarterback Casey Brockman and Eastern Kentucky senior running back Matt Denham are two of the 20 players on the initial 2012 Walter Payton Award Watch List as determined by the Sports Network. The Walter Payton Award was established in 1987 and is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The Watch List can undergo revision during the season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information/media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season on Nov. 19. The top three vote-getters will be invited to The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation. The only former OVC player to win the award is former Eastern Illinois quarterback Tony Romo who took home the honor in 2002.
Southeast Missouri’s Peiffer on Buck Buchanan Watch List
Southeast Missouri State senior linebacker Blake Peiffer is one of 20 players on the initial Buck Buchanan Award Watch List as determined by the Sports Network. The Buck Buchanan Award was established in 1995 and is given to the top defensive player at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The Watch List can undergo revision during the season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information/media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season on Nov. 19. The winner will be announced at the annual Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation. An OVC player has never won the Buck Buchanan Award.
NCAA Division I Playoff Information
This season marks the third of the expanded 20-team playoff field. Two years ago the field was expanded from 16 to 20 teams, marking the first expansion since the field grew from 12 to 16 teams in 1997. The eight lowest-rated teams will play in first round games while the 12-highest rated teams will receive a bye into the second round. For the third-straight year the championship game will be played in Frisco, Texas at FC Dallas Stadium. The Southland Conference will serve as the host of the championship, which will be held on Saturday, January 5. The playoff field will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 18. It was announced in August 2012 that the field would once again expand, this time to 24 teams beginning in the 2013 season. With the expansion will come an automatic bid for the Pioneer League, giving the playoffs 11 automatic bids and 13 at-large selections.
Sgt. York Trophy Enters Sixth Season in 2012
The Sgt. York Trophy is a challenge trophy which goes to the annual winner of the quadrangular season series between the four football-playing OVC institutions in the state of Tennessee (Austin Peay, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech and UT Martin). In July 2007, the Nashville Sports Council and the OVC announced the creation of the trophy, which is only the second traveling trophy involving more than two schools nationwide (the other is the Commander in Chief’s Trophy). It is named after Sgt. Alvin C. York, a native of Pall Mall, Tenn. and a Soldier who was one of the most honored of World War I. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor after the war and returned to his home state to dedicate his life to improving education and facilitating educational opportunities for children in the state of Tennessee. The trophy goes to the team with the best record against the other schools (in case of a tie there will be co-champions and the actual trophy will be retained by the defending champion if they are involved in the tie or if the defending champion is not involved in the tie it will go to the institution that has gone the most seasons without winning the trophy). In 2007 Tennessee State and Austin Peay finished in a tie for the trophy with identical 2-1 records; both shared the award but Tennessee State went home with the hardware due to a 1-point win in the head-to-head meeting during the season (that was the tiebreaker used only for the first year of the trophy series). Tennessee State went 3-0 in Sgt. York play in 2008 to claim its second trophy. In 2009 Tennessee Tech claimed the trophy after going undefeated in Sgt. York games and a year ago UT Martin became the third-straight OVC team to go 3-0 and win the trophy in claiming its first title. Last year Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State each finished 2-1 in Sgt. York play this season to share the trophy; Tennessee State, however, took home the actual trophy by a tiebreaker, since they had gone longer without possessing the trophy (TSU last won in 2008 while TTU won in 2009). The trophy is presented at the Pepsi Celebration of Champions hosted by the Nashville Sports Council in the spring.
A Look at the Coaches
Eight of the nine head coaches from last season return to their schools in the Ohio Valley Conference this season. The only newcomer is Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers, who took over for Bob Spoo who retired following a 25-year career at the school. Babers was most recently the special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach at Baylor. Jacksonville State’s Jack Crowe is the longest tenured coach in the league (in his 13th season at JSU). Two OVC coaches, Austin Peay’s Rick Christophel and Tennessee State’s Rod Reed, are currently coaching at their alma maters.
For the 12th time in the last 25 years (and first time since 2009), Eastern Kentucky was picked as the preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference football race. The Colonels picked up 12 of the 18 possible first-place votes (124 points) while second-place Jacksonville State received the other six first-place votes (117). The poll was rounded out by Murray State (85 points), Tennessee Tech (83), Tennessee State (69), UT Martin (67), Southeast Missouri (44), Eastern Illinois (42) and Austin Peay (17). Is being picked first in the preseason poll necessarily a good thing? In the past 34 years of preseason polls (all that were available), the preseason predicted champion has only gone on to win the OVC Championship 13 times (38.2%). After eight years of not picking the champion right (2003-2010), last season the preseason poll and actual champion (be it by a three-way tie) were the same.
Murray State’s Brockman, Southeast Missouri’s Peiffer Headline Preseason All-OVC Team
Murray State senior quarterback Casey Brockman was named 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Southeast Missouri State senior linebacker Blake Peiffer was tabbed OVC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in a vote of by the league’s head football coaches and sports information directors. Eastern Kentucky led the way with 10 selections on the preseason team while Murray State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech had three picks apiece. Returning players who were first-team All-OVC selections last season (13 in total) were automatic selections to the preseason team this year. The squad also included nine players who were second-team selections in 2011. Of the 26 total selections, 18 were seniors, six were juniors and two were sophomores.
As of September 2, there are 12 former Ohio Valley Conference players are on NFL rosters (9 active players, 2 practice squad players and 1 on IR). Those players include former Eastern Illinois standout Tony Romo, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, Cortland Finnegan (Samford), who has been a Pro Bowl defensive back selection and Tennessee State’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was a starter for the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, has been a Pro Bowl selection and is now in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Six of the nine current OVC football schools have at least one player in the NFL with Eastern Kentucky and Southeast Missouri leading the way with two active players apiece.
I-AA No More
Although some people may accidentally still refer to it as I-AA football, the term that represents the level of Division I football in which the Ohio Valley Conference competes has been retired. Beginning with the 2006 National Championship game, the term Football Championship Subdivision (or FCS) is to be used. FCS is the only Division I football rank to host a NCAA-sponsored national championship (one of 89 championships the NCAA sponsors). The division formerly known as I-A was changed to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and those teams compete for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national championship. Teams who play at the FCS level can offer a maximum of 63 scholarships (FBS teams can offer 85) and compete in a 20-team playoff at the end of the season to determine the national champion.
OVC Digital Network
The OVC launched the OVC Digital Network (OVCDN) in August 2012. The OVCDN is the exclusive home for live web streamed athletic contests involving OVC schools. This marks the seventh year the OVC has streamed live events, but first time the events will be offered free of charge and in an HD format and will feature improved quality thanks to an investment in new equipment conference-wide. Fans will also find it easier to log onto OVCDigitalNetwork.com and access the streams and can do so without any registration. The events will be available on any computer, tablet or smart phone without needing any special downloads or apps thanks new streaming technology.
2012 adidas® OVC Players of the Week – Sept. 3
Annie Gruenschlaeger, MB, 6’4, Sr., Ft. Thomas, Ky. – Morehead State
Gruenschlaeger earned all-tournament team honors for the Comfort Inn and Suites invitational, recording 39 kills and making just six errors on 66 swings in the three-match event. She also led the squad with 19 blocks. She opened with her first double-double of the year with 14 kills and a career-high 10 total blocks against Northern Kentucky. She turned in a 17-kill, seven-block effort in the win over Evansville while hitting .536 and finished with eight kills and no errors on 16 swings against Alabama A&M.
Others Nominated: Jada Stotts, Austin Peay; Allison McCoy, Belmont; Abby Saalfrank, Eastern Illinois; Jen Meyer, Jacksonville State; Brittany Kalinoski, Southeast Missouri; Kristen Torre, SIUE; Naomi Wells, Tennessee State; Kelsey Gray, Tennessee Tech; Shelby Hoskins, UT Martin
Kasey Elswick, L/DS, 5’7, Sr., Louisville, Ky. – UT Martin
Elswick racked up 21-plus digs in all three matches in First State Skyhawk Invitational. She recorded 40 digs against Troy, the second-most in program history. She followed that up with 21 digs in four sets against Wright State and 32 digs in five sets versus DePaul.
Others Nominated: Dena Ott, Eastern Kentucky; Leslie Schellhaas, Morehead State; Alyssa Lelm, Murray State; Emily Coon, Southeast Missouri; Chelsea Colclasure, SIUE; Britani Hathorn, Tennessee State; Courtney Smith, Tennessee Tech.
Julie Shives, S, 5’8, Jr., Grove City, Ohio – Southeast Missouri
Shives recorded 102 total assists, averaging 11.44 per sets over the weekend. She also added 16 kills and hit .484. She also posted 2.22 digs per set. She dished out over 30 assists in all three matches including 35 against Milwaukee.
Others Nominated: Abbey Heredia, Jacksonville State; Lia Havili, Murray State; Sammi Minton, SIUE; Erika Moss, Tennessee State; Amanda Crask, UT Martin
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Austin Peay at Lipscomb – 7 p.m.
Murray State at Evansville – 7 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Morehead State at Marshall – 11 a.m.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Belmont vs. Montana State (@Athens, Ohio) – 9 a.m.
Eastern Illinois at Marquette – 10 a.m.
South Carolina State at Morehead State – 10 a.m.
Jacksonville State vs. Jackson State (@Conway, Ark.) – 10 a.m.
Eastern Kentucky vs. Oakland (@Cleveland, Ohio) – 11:30 a.m.
SIUE at Akron – 12 p.m.
Tennessee Tech at Western Kentucky – 1 p.m.
Austin Peay vs. East Tennessee (@Tuscaloosa, Ala.) – 2 p.m.
Tennessee State vs. Chattanooga (@Kennesaw, Ga.) – 2:30 p.m.
Jacksonville State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (@Conway, Ark.) – 4 p.m.
SIUE vs. Youngstown State (@Akron, Ohio) – 4 p.m.
Southeast Missouri vs. South Florida (@St. Louis, Mo.) – 4:30 p.m.
Eastern Illinois vs. Wake Forest (@Milwaukee, Wis.) – 5 p.m.
UT Martin vs. UALR (@Carbondale, Ill.) – 5 p.m.
Belmont at Ohio – 6 p.m.
Missouri at Morehead State – 6 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Austin Peay at Alabama - 7 p.m.
Tennessee State at Kennesaw State – 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Austin Peay vs. Lamar (@Tuscaloosa, Ala.) – 9 a.m.
Tennessee State vs. NC Central (@Kennesaw, Ga.) – 10 a.m.
Tennessee Tech vs. IUPUI (@Bowling Green, Ky.) – 10 a.m.
UT Martin vs. Nicholls State (@Carbondale, Ill.) – 10 a.m.
SIUE vs. Binghamton (@Akron, Ohio) – 11 a.m.
Eastern Kentucky at Cleveland State – 11:30 a.m.
Belmont vs. Niagara (@Athens, Ohio) – 12 p.m.
Savannah State at Morehead State – 12 p.m.
Jacksovnille State vs. South Dakota (@Conway, Ark.) – 12 p.m.
Eastern Illinois vs. Michigan (@Milwaukee, Wis.) – 12 p.m.
Southeast Missouri at Saint Louis – 12 p.m.
Tennessee State vs. Troy (@Kennesaw, Ga.)- 2:30 p.m.
Tennessee Tech vs. Dayton (@Bowling Green, Ky.) – 3 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky vs. Buffalo (@Cleveland, Ohio) – 3:30 p.m.
Jacksonville State at Central Arkansas – 4 p.m.
Austin Peay vs. Alabama State (@Tuscaloosa, Ala.) – 4:30 p.m.
Southeast Missouri vs. Evansville (@St. Louis, Mo.) – 4:30 p.m.
Valparaiso at Morehead State – 6 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
UT Martin at Southern Illinois – 7 p.m.