SEMO football earns OVC automatic bid to FCS Playoffs with rout of Murray State

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – With a 52-22 victory over Murray State on Saturday, the Southeast Missouri State football team clinched a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title, and after a coin flip, the team earned the conference’s automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs.

If the Redhawks win another game, this year’s team will become the first in program history to win 10 games. 

“I’ve thought this team is different since we got together in January, and now you’re playing to be arguably the best team in SEMO history,” head coach Tom Matukewicz said.

William McCall gave the Redhawks the lead before the offense even got the ball with this interception return for a touchdown on the third play of the game. 

“That was an amazing way to start,” Matukewicz said. “That pick-six kind of changed everything right there.” 

SEMO never looked back, getting a record-setting rushing performance from Geno Hess, who set a new OVC single-game mark with 317 yards to go along with four touchdowns. 

“He’s special,” Matukewicz said. “He’s a one of kind in a lot of ways. He let me know he was close to that record.” 

The Redhawks won nine of 10 games after a season-opening loss to Iowa State. 

“I don’t care what anyone says, if you can get a bunch of people who truly care, about each other, that’s truly motivating,” Matukewicz said.

So, the ultimate quest begins after the FCS championship selection show on Sunday. 

But until then, it’s time to celebrate. 

“We’re going to start on another mission,” Matukewicz said. “But we’ve got 24 hours, and I’ll tell you right now, I’m going to enjoy this before I start worrying about the playoffs.” 

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