Samuel left two starters home for violating team rules.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- It hasn't taken first-year Southeast Missouri State football coach Tony Samuel long to show his players that he won't hesitate to dole out discipline in the area that probably hurts them the most.
It was announced prior to Saturday's season opener at Austin Peay that starting cornerbacks Monroe Hicks and Todshon Jones had been suspended for the game for violating unspecified team policy. They did not even make the trip.
Hicks is a junior from Central High School and Jones is a true freshman from New Jersey.
"It was a violation of team rules, so we left them home," Samuel said following the Redhawks' 38-13 victory over Austin Peay.
Samuel said it will be determined during the week whether Hicks and Jones would be allowed to play in next Saturday's home opener against Missouri-Rolla.
"We'll have to wait and see how it unfolds," Samuel said.
Senior Brennan Spain and junior Romae Rucker started at cornerback against Austin Peay.
Junior linebacker Adam Casper and senior end Edgar Jones were the ringleaders of Southeast's dominating defense that limited Austin Peay to just 67 second-half yards, after the Govs had 174 yards in the first half.
Casper was credited with a team-high nine tackles according to unofficial pressbox statistics. The converted fullback intercepted his first collegiate pass and also returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to put Southeast ahead 24-10.
"It kind of felt good to cross the goal line with the ball in my hands," said Casper, an Anna-Jonesboro (Ill.) High School product who scored two touchdowns in limited action as a redshirt freshman reserve fullback in 2004 before being moved to linebacker last year.
Said Samuel of Casper: "He's got vast potential. That's the guy I think can be a dominant player."
Jones was credited with seven tackles, including 2 1/2 sacks. He made the key sack that led to the fumble that Casper returned for a touchdown.
Jones, who had four sacks last year to lead the way among Southeast's returning players, was an all-Ohio Valley Conference preseason selection.
"Edgar got after it in the second half," Samuel said.
Senior linebacker Seth Harrell and senior end Kyle Hunt were both credited with six tackles. Senior tackle Jeff Steemer had a sack, while Hunt was credited with a half-sack.
True freshman cornerback Salim Powell intercepted a pass late in the game as the Redhawks came up with four turnovers while committing no turnovers themselves.
Samuel figured to try and make Southeast's offense a balanced one this year and it certainly was in the opener.
The Redhawks rushed for 178 yards and passed for 180 yards.
Sophomore tailback Tim Holloman just missed out on a 100-yard night, finishing with 97 yards on 23 carries.
Redshirt freshman Tony Anderson gained 45 yards on six attempts late in the game while senior John Radney added 43 yards on 10 carries. All three tailbacks scored touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Kevin Ballatore completed 14 of 20 passes for 180 yards and a 42-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Oge Oge.
"I thought he did a good job of running the offense," said Samuel of Ballatore.
Oge caught three passes for 52 yards. Junior fullback Clint Jones, a New Mexico State transfer, had five receptions for 24 yards. Senior wide out Stevelan Harper, another New Mexico State transfer, added two catches for 40 yards.
* Senior All-American David Simonhoff averaged 45.5 yards on four punts and three times pinned Austin Peay inside its 20.
* Sophomore kicker Colin Schermann from Central High School, first-team all-OVC last year, made a 32-yard field goal but was wide on a 30-yarder. He also was wide on a 27-yard attempt but that was canceled out by a roughing-the-kicker penalty.