September 16th, 2010 • 6:00pm CDT Nashville, TN • LP Field (68,798)
Since rejoining the Ohio Valley Conference, Austin Peay has played nothing but close games with Tennessee State. In 2007, the Govs lost at home 33-32 in overtime. A year later, the Govs dropped a 37-34 decision to TSU in Nashville. Then last season, the Govs won the close decision, 24-21 in Clarksville.
Saturday’s game not only will be the first game of the Sgt. York Trophy series for the two clubs, but also the first of 2010 in the series for the Tennessee-based OVC schools.
The Austin Peay-Tennessee State game will debut the 10-week OVC “Game of the Week” package, produced by regional sports network Wazoo Sports.
This will be the first matchup between APSU fourth-year head coach Rick Christophel and Rod Reed, Tennessee State’s first-year head man.
Austin Peay has enjoyed only 18 winning seasons in 73 years of football and only two winning seasons since the turn of the century–a 7-5 mark in 2002 as a non-scholarship program and a 7-4 record in 2007 in Rick Christophel’s first season.
This is the second time in the last four years APSU has opened OVC play against Tennessee State. The Govs first OVC game in rejoining the OVC in 2007 was against the Tigers.
After two weeks, Austin Peay leads the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in fewest sacks allowed (zero).
In two games this year, the Govs have played a 3:34 game (Cumberland) and a 3:35 contest (Middle Tennessee).
After scoring 33 points against Middle Tennessee, the Govs now have 71 on the short season, the most points after two games since the 2007 team had 75 after two contests.
Terrence Holt is Austin Peay’s first preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. He was named the league’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The Govs had just four players earn postseason OVC Player of the Year honors. Carlton Flatt (1964) and Sonny Defilippis (1980) earned offensive honors while Bob Bible (1977) and Mike Betts (1978) earned defensive honors.
Tigers to Watch
Running back Preston Brown has rushed for 266 yards in two games, including 218 yards on 33 carries against Jackson State…Quarterback Jeremy Perry has passed for 312 yards in two games, including 185 yards against Jackson State…Joseph Hills has been his favorite target with seven catches for 102 yards and two TDs…Junior linebacker Rico Council is the heart of the Tennessee State defense. He has 14 tackles over two games…cornerback Eugene Clifford is an All-America candidate at cornerback. He has 13 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups in two games…Defensive lineman Donte’e Nichols has two quarterback sacks in the early going.
Setting the Scene
- The Series: APSU trails the series 4-8
- Last Meeting: November 14th, 2009; Austin Peay 24, TSU 21
The Govs rejoined the Ohio Valley Conference for football in 2007 after returning to scholarship football in 2006. The Govs finished sixth in the OVC a year ago with a 3-5 league mark and 4-7 overall. The Govs are picked to finish tied for seventh in 2010…Meanwhile, tradition-rich Tennessee State has been a member of the OVC since 1988 with Reed being the program’s seventhg head coach since joining the league. The Tigers have won two OVC titles (1998, 1999)….APSU and TSU have played three times since the Govs rejoined the league, with the margin of viictory no more than three points in each of them.
- Running back Ryan White, the 2009 OVC rushing leader, finished with 92 yards on 11 carries against Middle Tennessee, including a 55-yard third-quarter run that set up APSU’s first second-half TD.
- After two games this season, the Governors are averaging 35.5 points per game and 361 yards per game total offense.
- After two 2010 games, the Governors are converting 46 percent of their third-down opportunities after coverting just 36.4 percent a year ago.
- Also after two weeks, the Govs remain efficient in the Red Zone. In six opportunities, the Governors have scored five times, including three TDs and two field goals. The Governors came away with four scores (two TDs and two field goals against Middle Tennessee.
- Sophomore quarterback Jake Ryan set several career highs against Middle Tennessee, including TD passes (2), yards (224), and completions (16). His threw his season’s first touchdown pass in the second quarter, a 28-yard strike to Devin Stark. His second TD was a 19-yard pass caught by Adrian Mines with three seconds left in the first half.
- Safety Jeremy Ross not only was the OVC co-Defensive Player of the Week but he was named the College Football Performance Awards Co-Defensive Performer of the Week. The College Park, Ga., native recovered three fumbles against Middle Tennessee, returning one for a 16-yard TD.
- Sophomore linebacker Zac Burkhart, who suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament against Cumberland, is expected to miss five weeks while recovering. As a result, senior Ricky Thomas, who sat out the first week because of a team policy violation, started in his place alongside sophomore Darrick Dillard.
- With sophomore linebacker Zac Burkhart out with torn elbow ligament and freshman linebacker Craig Salley out with a knee problem, the Governors linebacker corps faced depth problems against Middle Tennessee in the season’s second game. As a result, two first-year freshmen Josh Carroll and Josh Owens saw significant snaps in the first half.
- Redshirt sophomore free safety Antwaun Majors, in only his second college start, led the Governors in tackles against Middle Tennessee with nine, including eight solo stops.