October 30th, 2010 • 1:30pm CDT • Charleston, IL • O’Brien Field (10,000)
APSU Men’s Football
Clarksville, TN – Since rejoining the Ohio Valley Conference the Governors own a 1-1 record against Eastern Illinois. The Govs won 15-13 in Charleston two years ago but lost at home 30-20 last season.
Austin Peay enters the contest on a four-game losing streak. The Govs have endured at least a four-game losing streak in seven of the last eight seasons.
Austin Peay comes into the game ranked 111th (out of 117 teams) or higher in four defensive categories–rushing defense (117th/260.00 ypg), total defense (113th/455.43 ypg), scoring defense (116th/40.86 ppg) and sacks (115th/.71). The Governors have permitted five teams to rush for more than 200 single-game yards, including Jacksonville State, which finished with 307 yards rushing.
Beginning with the Wisconsin game, opponents have scored on 31 of 47 possessions against the Governors defense, including 28 touchdowns. That also includes three kneel downs at end of halves. Jacksonville State scored on 8-of-11 possessions.
Adrian Mines, APSU’s leading receiver the past two seasons, suffered a dislocated ankle making a catch on the Governors’ first scrimmage play. Despite the injury, the senior could return before season’s end.
Austin Peay has allowed 34 or more points in all five losses this season, including 56 by Jacksonville State The Govs are permitting 40.86 points per game.
At Jacksonville State, the Governors were held without a TD in an OVC game for the first time since November 11th, 1995, when Eastern Kentucky shutout the Govs, 28-0.
APSU is ranked 102nd out of 117 teams in time of possession, averaging just 27:23 minutes per game. The Govs did have a 30:54-to-29:06 advantage at Jacksonville State.
Austin Peay enters Saturday’s contest with a 93-164-2 OVC record (36.2 percent).
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.
Panthers To Watch
Freshman quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named OVC Newcomer of the Week for his performance in a loss to Murray State. He passed for 341 yards and four touchdowns He completed 26-of-35 in the contest including 13 of his first 14 pass attempts. Wide receiver Erik Lora has been the favorite target with 42 catches for 401 yards. Slot receiver Kenny Whittaker has 32 catches.
Running back Jimmy Potempa leads the rushers with 418 yards (4.6 ypr). Linebacker Nick Nasti is living up to his name with 91 stops in eight games. Tackle Spyros Bazigos has nine tackles for loss while end Artavious Dowdell has eight, including three quarterback sacks.
Setting The Scene
The Series: APSU trails the series, 3-7
Last Meeting: September 26th, 2009: Eastern Illinois 30, Austin Peay 20
The Govs rejoined the OVC 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 were 4-7 overall. The Govs are picked to finish tied for seventh in 2010. Meanwhile, Eastern Illinois was picked to finish second in the OVC race this year after winning the title a year ago. But the Panthers are enduring one of the worst seasons in Bob Spoo’s coaching career. EIU stands at 0-8 overall and 0-6 in the OVC.
The running-conscious Governors were held to just 67 yards rushing on 35 attempts at Jacksonville State.
Running back Ryan White, the 2009 OVC rushing leader, was held to 18 yards on 10 carries at Jacksonville State. White has enjoyed just one 100-yard rushing effort this season, that being a 112-yard performance against Tennessee State, September 18th.
The Govs already young offensive line got even younger against Jacksonville State. With James Barker out with a knee problems, junior right tackle J.P. Washington was shifted from the right side to the left. As a result, freshman Ben Stansfield started at right tackle. In addition, another freshman, Chris Hartman, made his first start at right guard, replacing Jacob Langston at the position.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Ryan completed 12 of 20 passes for 90 yards against No. 3 Jacksonville State. He also was the victim of two late hits, both drawing 15-yard personal foul penalties, on non-option running plays.
Wide receiver Devin Stark (2 catches, 26 yards) and running back Ryan White (2 catches 22 yards) were the only two Governors to average more than 10 yards per catch in receptions against JSU.
Kamron Johnson, a freshman who walked on during the spring, caught a pair of passes for 16 yards against Jacksonville State. They were the first catches of his career.
Sophomore wide receiver Devin Stark has been nothing but versatile this season. At Tennessee State, September 18th, he carried the ball on a reverse for 13 yards. In the season opener, he threw the Govs’ first TD pass of the season, a 30-yard strike. He also had five catches for 109 yards, including a 41-yard catch at TSU. After catching 5 passes for 52 yards against Tennessee Tech, he had three catches for 35 yards against Southeast Missouri. He had two catches for 26 yards against JSU.
After catching just one total pass in the season’s first two games, Adrian Mines, the Govs’ leading receiver the past two seasons, had 7 catches for 84 yards against Tennessee State, including the seven-yard snag and stretch for the game-winning TD with 40 seconds left. He also had five catches, including an eight-yard TD reception against Tennessee Tech. He had two catches against SEMO. He caught a pass on the Govs’ first scrimmage play at Jacksonville State, but suffered a dislocated ankle.
Quarterback Jake Ryan, after setting career highs for TD passes (2), yards (224), and completions (16) at Middle Tennessee, enjoyed a strong performance against Tennessee State. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 178 yards and one TD. He was a perfect 4-for-4 for 49 yards on the game-winning drive, including the TD pass to Adrian Mines. Ryan broke his own personal best for completions with 17 (25 attempts) against Tennessee Tech.
After forcing eight turnovers in the first two games, the Govs defense has been able to force just two turnovers in the last five games, the second occurring in the third quarter against Jacksonville State. The Govs are ranked 94th nationally in turnover margin.
Defensive tackle Antonio Faulkner recorded four tackles, including 0.5 for loss, against Jacksonville State. Faulkner is ranked tied for 57th in FCS statistics in tackles for loss, averaging 1.14 per game.
Freshman defensive end Iosua Siliva became the first APSU defender other than Antonio Faulkner to be credited with more than one tackle for loss when he collected 1.5 tackles for loss (seven yards) against JSU.
Sophomore free safety Antwaun Majors, who took over the position after JayR Harper tore his Achilles tendon during summer practice, finished with a team-high nine tackles at Jacksonville State. In the previous game against Southeast Missouri, Majors was credited with 17 tackles, becoming the first player to have more than 16 tackles in a game since Daniel Becker had 19 tackles against Tennessee State, September 15th, 2007.
Sophomore linebacker Zac Burkhart returned to the starting lineup against Tennessee Tech after missing four games with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He finished with eight tackles, including a sack. He had nine tackles plus a fumble recovery against Southeast Missouri but was credited with only two tackles against Jacksonville State.
Defensive tackle Steven Johnson returned to the starting lineup against Tennessee Tech after sitting out the Wisconsin contest with shoulder issues. However, Johnson reinjured his shoulder in the second half against Tennessee Tech. He left the game with five tackles and missed the Southeast Missouri contest. He will not play this week.
In two games against FBS teams, the Governors permitted 654 yards to Middle Tennessee and 618 to Wisconsin.
Safety Jeremy Ross was named the OVC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his three fumble-recovery performance at Middle Tennessee, September 11th. He returned one of the fumbles 16 yards for a touchdown. Ross also was named the College Football Performance Awards Co-Defensive Performer of the Week for his work against MTSU.
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.
Special Team Notes
Sophomore kicker Stephen Stansell is a perfect 16-of-16 on extra-point attempts and 10-of-13 on field goal attempts so far this season. Stansell was one of the Govs’ few bright spots against Jacksonville State, booming a 50-yard field goal to give the Govs’ a brief 3-0 lead.
After opening the season averaging 40 yards per punt or better in all five games, senior Ryan Key endured his season’s worst performance against Southeast Missouri, averaging only 32.0 yards per punt, largely due to a shanked 11-yard first-half punt. However, he bounced back against Jacksonville State to average 44.2 yards per punt, including a pair of first-quarter 51-yard boots. His 42.66 yards-per-punt average ranks seventh nationally in FCS statistics.
Sophomore placekicker Stephen Stansell was one of 32 kickers who received September recognition for the Fred Mitchell Award. The annual Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award (also known as the Fred Mitchell Award) is provided to the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker among more than 600 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, III and NAIA football teams. Stansell was one of 11 FCS placekickers to be recognized along with eight Division II, 10 Division III and three from NAIA.
Kicker Stephen Stansell, who tied a school record with four field goals as the Govs rallied for a 26-23 win against Tennessee State, Sept. 18, was named FCS College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Placekicker Co-Performer of the Week. The 5-11, 183-pound sophomore from Athens was a perfect 4-for-4 on the day against TSU at LP Field, scoring 14 of APSU’s 26 points. The four field goals tied the school record originally set by Tom McMillan, September 5th, 1987, at Kansas State.
Earlier this season senior punter Ryan Key boomed a career-best 70-yard fourth-quarter punt at Middle Tennessee. It was the Govs’ longest punt since Jaime Iracheta booted one 65 yards against Morehead State, September 4th, 1997.
College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) named Ryan Key honorable mention Punter Performer of the Week after he averaged 44.7 yards per punt, including a 70 yarder, at Middle Tennessee. September 11th. The 44.7 average was the second best of his career.
With his eight combined returns at Wisconsin, Holt set the FCS record for total kick (kick + punt) returns. He now has 222.
All-America kick returner Terrence Holt has chalked up at least 1,100 yards in kickoff returns in each of his three previous seasons. He has 680 yards in kick returns entering this week’s game.
Senior linebacker Ricky Thomas has blocked six kicks during his career, including three last season.