MARTIN, Tenn. -- Brandon Gathof blocked Tom Hansen's game-winning 45-yard field goal attempt on the final play, giving Eastern Kentucky a 33-31 victory over Tennessee-Martin and clinch the Ohio Valley Conference championship on Saturday.
The Colonels (8-3, 7-1 in OVC) earned an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs with the win. It's Eastern Kentucky's 20th OVC title.
Gathof also had two of the Colonels' four interceptions of Cade Thompson, returning the second of those 50 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Skyhawks (8-4, 6-2) dominated the game, outgaining Eastern Kentucky 501-172. Five first-half Skyhawks turnovers helped Eastern Kentucky take a 24-6 lead at halftime.
Thompson threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns, tying the school's single-season record for scoring passes in a season with 24.
He threw the second of his two touchdown passes to Mike Hicks on a 3-yard score that pulled the Skyhawks within 24-12 early in the third quarter.
The Colonels blocked the ensuing extra-point attempt, however, and Andre Evans scooped up the loose ball and ran for two points for to make it 26-12.
The two teams then swapped touchdowns as Trace McDermott scored from 1-yard out for the Skyhawks, and Holland threw his 30-yard score to Watts for a 33-19 lead.
Hansen had field goals of 22 and 38 yards to pull the Skyhawks within 33-25 with 6 minutes left.
Dorsett Pendleton's 44-yard fumble recovery for a score at the 4:24 mark drew the Skyhawks within 33-31, but a game-tying two-point conversion pass was incomplete.