Dominating 72-3 win should boost Redhawks' confidence

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There is no telling what the 2009 football season will hold for Southeast Missouri State.

And there's no reason to get too carried away by a win over an NAIA team that went 6-5 last year.

But I've got to say that Thursday's 72-3 demolition of Quincy in Southeast's opener was impressive. And I sure didn't see it coming.

I thought that, if the Redhawks played well, they could win by two or three touchdowns. But I half-expected a fairly tight, competitive game all the way, especially because Quincy had already upset Indiana State, which like Southeast competes in Division I-AA.

Some early special teams and defensive plays helped turn the tide in Southeast's favor, but then the Redhawks simply dominated Quincy. Southeast outgained the visitors in total yardage by a whopping 512 to 220.

While not trying to build up the Redhawks too much, I'm also not going to take anything away from them, especially since they were lucky to beat Division II Southwest Baptist 35-28 in last year's opener.

So to take care of business so thoroughly and in such dominant fashion against Quincy, while executing flawlessly on offense, suffocating on defense and controlling the special teams, should not be dismissed lightly.

The Redhawks likely will return to earth Saturday when they visit defending Big East Conference champion Cincinnati in their annual Division I-A "money" game that will net the university $275,000.

But even if the Redhawks are throttled by Cincinnati, that should do nothing to diminish their confidence heading into next week's Ohio Valley Conference opener at home against Eastern Illinois.

If nothing else, what happened against Quincy has to at least get long-suffering Southeast football fans excited for the rest of the season, especially the OVC schedule.

Missouri fans also are advised to not get too carried away about their team's first game.

But what a 2009 debut it was for the Tigers, who posted a surprisingly lopsided 37-9 win over Illinois Saturday in St. Louis.

Illinois was about a touchdown favorite after MU lost so many key players from last year.

That didn't prevent the Tigers from rolling as sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert had a dazzling starting debut and MU's defense was impressive.

Also coming up big was Jackson's Grant Ressel, who was perfect on all three of his field-goal attempts -- from 32, 44 and 41 yards -- and all four of his extra points in his first game as MU's kicker.

MU fans have to be encouraged by what they witnessed Saturday.

Congratulations to Southeast senior Molly Davis for recently breaking the school's career digs record in volleyball.

Davis not only excels on the court, she also is an academic All-American.

Plus, she is about as friendly, engaging and likeable a person as I have met during my 25 years of covering sports in this area.

The fifth annual Hal Hempen Memorial Golf Outing will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 19 at Indian Hills Golf Course in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Hempen, who played baseball at Southeast in 1986 and 1987, died in 2005 in a golf course accident involving lightning. He ranks second on Southeast's career saves list with 10 and is second on the program's single-season saves list with eight.

The tournament is part of the Hal Hempen Foundation that was created in 2005 following his death at the age of 39. The foundation raises money toward the Special Olympics and various other charitable efforts and scholarships.

Anyone interesting in playing in the tournament should call 618-765-2703 or 618-765-2516.

It was recently announced that former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight will be inducted into the university's athletics Hall of Fame nearly a decade after he was fired for violating a zero-tolerance policy imposed by then-IU president Myles Brand.

That got me to thinking, isn't it about time Southeast put Ron Shumate -- its own former legendary basketball coach who, like Knight, was fired more than a decade ago amid plenty of hard feelings -- into its athletics Hall of Fame (and I'm not talking about only as part of a team, which he already is)?

I certainly think so.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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