Southeast Missouri State football coach watches a football thriller on film

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Southeast Missouri State quarterback Scott Lathrop breaks into the backfield during the Redhawks’ 41-38 double overtime win over the Tennessee Tech Saturday at Houck Stadium.

Southeast Missouri State football coach Tony Samuel, in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's 41-38 double-overtime win over Tennessee Tech, called it one of the "wilder" games in his career.

Samuel wasn't backing down from that statement after having a chance to dissect the film from the Redhawks' Ohio Valley Conference opener.

A Houck Stadium crowd announced at more than 8,300 on Southeast's Family Weekend saw a game that featured six lead changes, three ties and plenty of spectacular plays.

"Oh yeah, that was a wild football game," Samuel said Monday. "You're talking two overtimes, big plays. ... I was pretty tired after that game."

Southeast (2-2) was able to pull out the victory despite being outgained in total yardage 405 to 146 during a first half that ended with the Redhawks behind just 24-21 thanks to a pair of interception returns for touchdowns.

The Redhawks' defense performed much better in the second half, thanks in part to Southeast's offense also picking up the pace after it had the ball for only 6 minutes, 58 seconds in the opening half. Southeast's two "pick-sixes" helped skew the Redhawks' first-half possession time.

Defending OVC tri-champion Tech gained only 155 yards after halftime while Southeast gained 211 yards during that span.

"That's two games in a row we were probably over our numbers as far as being on the field defensively," said Samuel, also referring to the previous week's 35-14 loss at SIU.

After both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime, Southeast won it when senior Drew Geldbach booted a 34-yard field goal and Tech missed from exactly the same distance.

Southeast's defense came up with one of the game's big plays during the second overtime after the Redhawks had gone ahead 41-38. Tech's Stephen Bush was stopped for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 from the 16. The next play resulted in the missed field goal that ended the contest.

"At the end of the day, that was the play of the game," Samuel said. "If they had gotten a first down, who knows what would have happened."

Senior defensive end Alonzo Nevarez helped drop Bush on that crucial play and had career highs of six tackles and 1.5 sacks.

"Alonzo made a couple of big plays," Samuel said.

The Redhawks turn their attention to another of last year's OVC tri-champions as they visit Jacksonville State for a 3 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

The Gamecocks (1-2) were crushed Saturday in their OVC opener. Preseason conference favorite Eastern Kentucky, the other defending OVC tri-champion, led 34-8 at halftime and buried visiting JSU 51-21.

Southeast lost to JSU 22-21 last year in Cape Girardeau as the Gamecocks rallied from a 21-9 halftime deficit.


* All-American senior linebacker Blake Peiffer, who had 15 tackles Saturday and has 33 in his last two games, has moved into the OVC tackles lead with 48, which ranks eighth nationally. He is second in the league with 5.5 tackles for loss. Peiffer has 290 career tackles, tied for eighth in program history.

* Senior safety Tylor Brock, who intercepted a pass Saturday, is tied for the conference lead with three picks.

* Geldbach continues to lead the OVC and rank sixth nationally in field goals (1.75 per game). He has made 7 of 8 for 87.5 percent.

* Junior punter Joe Vucic, despite averaging just 33.2 yards on four kicks Saturday, continues to top the conference with a 42.6 yard average.

* Senior tailback Levi Terrell has moved up to second in the league in rushing following his career-high 171 yards Saturday. Terrell has 454 yards and is averaging 113.5 yards per game.

* Senior safety Branden Spann's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown Saturday was just the second from that distance in school history and tied an OVC record. Spann is the fourth player in league history to accomplish the feat. Southeast's Eddie Calvin did it in 2007.

* Southeast scored two defensive touchdowns in a game for the first time since 2000 against Illinois State. The Redhawks returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a game for the first time since moving up to the Football Championship Subdivision level in 1991.

* The Redhawks are tied for the OVC lead in turnover margin at plus seven, which ranks sixth nationally. Southeast's 16 takeaways lead the nation and exceeds last year's total of 14. The Redhawks, who have forced multiple turnovers in six straight games dating back to last season, also lead the nation with 10 interceptions.

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