Redhawks keep OVC dreams in sight with win over Tennessee State
Southeast football held off conference opponent Tennessee State by a score of 38-21 on Saturday, Nov. 3, to extend its winning streak to five games and stay in the hunt for the Ohio Valley Conference championship.
“Some of the hardest ones to get, are the ones you should get,” Southeast coach Tom Matukewicz said. “I’m really proud of the way our team prepared this week.”
The Redhawks (7-2 overall, 5-1 OVC), ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches poll, blocked a TSU field goal early and then seized control. The Redhawks took the lead on a 40-yard field goal by sophomore Kendrick Tiller , then added a 37-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina to junior receiver Kristian Wilkerson.
Wilkerson caught the ball in stride, and proceeded to break some tackles en route to his first touchdown of the day, to give the Redhawks a 10-0 lead early on in the second quarter.
Wilkerson had eight catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns on the day. The junior receiver has had 16 catches for 392 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.
“He is continuing to get better,” Matukewicz said. “I love the run after the catch. That’s who he should be, he’s a big strong guy.”
On the Redhawks next possession, senior running back Marquis Terry took the handoff on the first play or a 37-yard touchdown. The PAT put the Redhawks ahead with 12 minutes to go in the second quarter.
Terry rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries to surpass 1,000 yards on the season and 2,000 for his career at Southeast. Terry had two touchdowns on the day, including a 38-yard reception in finishing the day with six catches for 76 yards. Terry leads the OVC with five games on the season with 100 or more rushing yards. The performance earned Terry the OVC co-offensive player of the week.
Santacaterina found Terry for a 8-yard touchdown with 6:25 to go in the second quarter to extend the Redhawks lead to 24-7. Tennessee State would go on to make it a game heading into the break, trimming the lead from 17-0 to 24-14, and they would receive the ball out of the half.
Junior linebacker Justin Swift set the tone for the second half when he thwarted a TSU drive deep in Redhawk territory. The Tigers took the opening possession to the Southeast 6, but Swift intercepted a pass from quarterback Micheal Hughes and returned it to midfield.
The turnover changed the momentum on the game. Southeast responded with a seven-play, 47-yard drived, capped when Santacaterina once again found Wilkerson for a 16-yard score to put the Redhawks up 31-14 with 10:25 to play in third quarter.
On its next possession, Southeast covered 41 yards in four plays to move ahead 38-14 with
Santacaterina finding Wilkerson on a 9-yard passing touchdown with 4:26 to play in the third quarter.
TSU trimmed the lead to 38-21 heading into the final quarter, but that is as close as it would come the rest of the way.
In total yardage, Southeast was outgained 508 to 484 on the day.
“The thing I appreciate about this team is it's just not one side,” Matukewicz said. “Whether we score a touchdown, or block a kick, it’s just somehow we find a way to make a play.”
Santacaterina completed 22 of 36 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns and was named the OVC Newcomer of the Week.
“Every game for us is a playoff game, ever since five weeks ago,” Santacaterina said. “It’s not hard to get going, you have no choice. Every game is a must-win game.”
The Redhawks now control their own destiny in the Ohio Valley Conference as they travel to Murray State on Nov. 10 to play their final road game of the year.