(25) Indiana State (7-5) at (16) Eastern Kentucky (9-3) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Roy Kidd Stadium (22,000) – Richmond, Kentucky. Surface:
FieldTurf. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Michael Reghi and Dustin Fox.
Home Record: Indiana State 4-2, Eastern Kentucky 4-1. Road Record: Indiana
State 3-3; Eastern Kentucky 5-2. Conference: Indiana State – Missouri Valley;
Eastern Kentucky – Ohio Valley. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky (6-1). Last
Meeting: Sept. 9, 2000 (Eastern Kentucky, 34-10). Series Streak: Eastern
Kentucky has won the last six meetings. Nicknames: Indiana State Sycamores;
Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Head Coaches: Indiana State – Mike Sanford (2nd
season at Indiana State, 8-16; 7th season overall, 24-59); Eastern Kentucky –
Dean Hood (7th season, 49-32 at Eastern Kentucky and overall). Playoff Records:
Indiana State (1-2); Eastern Kentucky (16-18, two national championships 1979,
1982). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Indiana State 2 (1983-84); Eastern
Kentucky 20 (1979-84, 86-95, 97, 2007-08, 11). Playoff Streak: Indiana State
has lost its last two FCS playoffs game; Eastern Kentucky has lost its last six
FCS playoff games.

GAME NOTES: The visiting Sycamores are in the FCS playoffs for the third
time, and the first time since 1984. Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky, a two-time
national champion, is making its 21st playoff appearance – which trails only
Montana (23).

But history won’t matter to the Sycamores, who are a tested team out of the
powerful Missouri Valley Football Conference, having played seven nationally
ranked FCS teams – with wins over playoff qualifiers Liberty and Northern Iowa
– after earning an early season win at FBS member Ball State.

Indiana State, which has turned around its fortunes from a 1-11 finish a year
ago, stakes its hopes to three-year starting quarterback Mike Perish, who often
faces pressure but limits the errors (eight interceptions in 444 pass
attempts). Ohio Valley Conference teams aren’t usually known for their defense,
so the Sycamores hope to get better results out of a struggling run game.

The Sycamores have a stud on defense in Connor Underwood, who has 21.5 tackles
for loss, 12 sacks and three forced fumbles. He will set his sights on
stopping the run as much as the pass because EKU ranks 16th nationally in
rushing yards per game (229.4). Kentucky transfer Dy’Shawn Mobley (1,395 yards,
19 touchdowns), the OVC offensive player of the year, has led the way. The
Colonels utilize two quarterbacks, Jared McClain and Bennie Coney, but they
have combined for more interceptions (16) than touchdown passes (12).

Like Indiana State, EKU has a win over an FBS opponent, Miami of Ohio. What
coach Dean Hood’s squad has done is make strong adjustments at halftime because
it has outscored the opposition 117-33 in the third quarter.

The winner will head to No. 8 seed Chattanooga on Dec. 6.

PREDICTION: Indiana State is the more tested team, but in one of the tightest
matchups of the FCS playoff first round, the Colonels gain a little from being
home. Eastern Kentucky, 31-28.