SOUTHEAST MISSOURI OPENS OVC SEASON AT SAMFORD
Sept. 25, 2003
THE TEAMS: Southeast Missouri is 0-4 after losses to I-A schools Ohio and Arkansas State and Gateway Conference teams SIU and SMS. Samford is 2-1 with wins over Chattanooga and West Alabama and a loss to I-A San Diego State. Last season, Southeast Missouri was 8-4 and ranked 23rd nationally in Division I-AA while Samford was 4-7 overall. Southeast was 4-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference while Samford competed as an independent. Southeast has been picked to win the 2003 OVC title in a preseason poll of league head coaches. It will be Samford's first year in the OVC.
THE SERIES: Samford leads the series 2-1. The only Southeast win was 48-24 last season at Houck Stadium.
LAST SEASON: Jack Tomco completed 20-28 passes for 368 yards to lead Southeast to a 48-24 win. The Indians led 34-17 at the half and rolled to the win.
FAMILIAR FACE: Former Southeast assistant coach Rory Segrest is the defensive line coach at Samford. He served at Southeast from 1999 to 2001.
INTERNET VIEWING: Thanks to new Internet broadcasting technology from the MaxVU Sports Broadcasting Network (MSBN), Samford athletics will broadcast the Samford vs. Southeast football game. To access the video broadcast, fans should access Samford's athletic department web page: samfordsports.com, click the multimedia link, then click the "Bulldog vision" link. The game will cost $8 to view, but fans can listen for free. Fans needing more information, please e-mail Samford Radio@yahoo.com with the subject "Online."
TAUFOOU IS OVC NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK: David Taufoou rushed for 107 yards and one touchdown against SMS to earn OVC Newcomer of the Week honors. Making his first start, Taufoou also had four catches for 13 yards.
INJURIES: Defensive backs Mike Miller and Marco Tipton are out indefinitely with knee injuries. Backup offensive guard Eric Krauss suffered a leg injury in preseason practice and has not played. He is probable for the Samford game. Offensive guard Dan Bieg was injured in the ASU game and did not play in the SMS game. He is probable for the Samford game. Linebacker Michael Irving also missed the SMS game with a knee injury but is probable for Samford.
QUARTERBACK SHUFFLE: Senior Jack Tomco will be the starting quarterback for the Samford game. Tomco, who passed for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns while establishing nine new Southeast passing records last season, started the first two games this season but played behind Jeromy McDowell in the last two games. Tomco has completed 40-73 passes for 453 yards with six interceptions and no touchdowns.
TOMCO ON PAYTON WATCH LIST: Senior quarterback Jack Tomco is on the initial Sports Network Payton Watch List. The list profiles 16 potential candidates for the Walter Payton Award which is the I-AA equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Tomco, who passed for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, is just the second Southeast player to ever be on the watch list. Last season, Willie Ponder was added to the list at mid-season and ended up fourth in the Payton Award voting. Tomco is also among the first 50 players to be named to play in the inaugural I-AA College Football All-Star Classic on Dec. 30 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The game will be televised by the Football Network.
KINSEY DISMISSED: Junior running back Corey Kinsey, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday. Coach Tim Billings dismissed Kinsey for violations of team rules. This season, Kinsey had rushed the ball 57 times for 159 yards.
NUMBER CHANGE WITH MEANING: Senior defensive end Ryan Roth will wear number 32 this season to honor the memory of a high school teammate who was killed in the collapse of an apartment deck near Wrigley Field in Chicago on June 28. Rob Koranda was captain of the Naperville (Illinois) North High School team when Roth was a junior. Koranda, who wore number 32, went on to play college football at Princeton before a shoulder injury ended his football career. "Koranda was a friend who was a real inspiration to me,: said Roth who is a preseason all-OVC selection at defensive end. "I want to wear number 32 to honor his memory."
BIG OPENING CROWDS: A Houck Stadium record crowd of 11,100 and a regional television audience on Fox Sports Net Midwest and Fox Sports Net Chicago saw the home opener against SIU. The previous record crowd was 11,015 for the Family Weekend game vs. Eastern Kentucky in 1999. There were 9,800 fans on hand for the Family Weekend game vs. SMS. giving Southeast a two-game average of 10,450 fans per game in 10,000 seat Houck Stadium.
TEAM ELECTS SIX CAPTAINS: The team has elected three offensive and three defensive captains. Offensive captains include quarterback Jack Tomco, center Eugene Amano and kicker Derek Kutz. Defensive captains include end Ryan Roth, linebacker Ricky Farmer and back Dimitri Patterson.
OVC FAVORITE: For the first time ever, Southeast has been picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference title in voting by the league head coaches. Murray State was picked second, Eastern Illinois third, Eastern Kentucky fourth, Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech tied for fifth, Tennessee State seventh, Samford eighth and Tennessee-Martin ninth. Street & Smith's 2003 Football National Preview also picked Southeast to win the OVC crown.
PRESEASON ALL-OVC: Southeast had a league-high seven players named preseason all-OVC with three more players gaining honorable mention. Jack Tomco, Corey Kinsey, Eugene Amano and Dan Connolly were first team selections on offense with Ryan Roth, Marco Tipton and Dimitri Patterson honored on defense. Honorable mention selections were Ricky Farmer, Mike Miller and Dan Bieg. Currently, Tipton and Miller are out indefinitely with knee injuries and Kinsey has been dismissed from the team.
PONDER A NEW YORK GIANT: Willie Ponder, consensus All-American wide receiver last season for Southeast, is currently a member of the New York Giants who drafted him in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
TWO TELEVISED GAMES: Two Southeast games at Houck Stadium are scheduled for national television coverage. The home opener on Sept. 6 vs. Southern Illinois was televised on Fox Sports Net Midwest and Fox Sports Net Chicago and was available nationwide on Fox Sports Digital Nets. The homecoming game on Oct. 4 vs. Eastern Illinois will kickoff at 11:30 a.m. and will be televised nationally by The Football Network. The game will be seen locally on UPN-The Beat.
BILLINGS ON TELEVISION: Southeast Missouri Football with Tim Billings is televised weekly on UPN-The Beat. Steve Sotak hosts the show that airs at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday.
Tim Billings RADIO SHOW: Tim Billings has a one-hour radio show each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The show is broadcast live from Buffalo Wild Wings in Cape Girardeau on ESPN Radio, 1220 AM. Erik Sean is host for the show that also includes call-ins and audience participation.
OVC TELECONFERENCE: Ohio Valley Conference football coaches have a weekly teleconference on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. All league coaches participate and answer questions from the media. Coach Billings is on at 10:35 a.m. each Tuesday. For more information contact Ryan Altizer at the OVC, (615) 371-1698.
HOMECOMING AND NATIONAL TV ON OCT. 11: Following the Samford game Southeast will return to Houck Stadium for the homecoming game on Oct. 4 vs. Eastern Illinois, 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised nationally by The Football Network and will be seen locally on UPN-The Beat.