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Austin Peay Governors vs. Memphis

APSU Sports Information: APSU Football

September 17th, 2011 • 6:00pm CDT
Memphis, TN • Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (61,000)

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – This is Austin Peay’s 75th season of college football, including nine non-scholarship seasons (1997-2005). They enter the contest with a 271-468-16 record.

Austin Peay has enjoyed only 18 winning seasons in 74 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.

After owning a school-record 26 seniors in 2009, the Govs had half that many (13) in 2010. This season the Govs have even fewer, eight.

APSU Football. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)
APSU Football. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

Austin Peay last won a football game, 26-23, against Tennessee State, September 18th. They enter the contest amidst a nine-game losing streak.

The Governors have allowed 198 points (66 ppg) in its last three games against Football Bowl Subdivision members, including 72 to Cincinnati, September 3rd.

Austin Peay and Memphis have played a total of six times, but this is the first meeting since 1957. All but one of the matchups–the 1941 contest–have been played in Memphis.

Austin Peay has scored at least three points in its last 63 games.

APSU Football HelmetDevin Stark’s five catches (65 yards) against Cincinnati tied for his career-high in receptions. He also had five catches against Tennessee Tech in 2010.

Junior quarterback Jake Ryan set a personal completions percentage mark against Cincinnati. He completed 16 of 23 passes (69.6 percent) against the Bearcats. Twice previously he completed 16 of 25 passes (68 percent) in games.

The Governors have nine players on their current roster from Memphis area.

Tigers To Watch

Linebacker Akeem Davis was credited with a team-high 11 tackles against Arkansas State. Strong safety Cannon Smith collected 10 tackles in Saturday’s loss. Sophomore defensive tackle Johnnie Farms was credited with four tackles for loss among his eight stops against Arkansas State.

Nose tackle Donatari Poe tallied 2.5 tackles for loss at ASU. Running back Billy Foster had 46 yards rushing against Arkansas State while his freshman backup Artaves Gibson had 42 to give him a team-high 135 for the season. Freshman quarterback Taylor Reed, making his first start after coming off the bench against Mississippi State, completed 13 of 29 passes against ASU, but in two games he has completed 36 of 64 for 236 yards.

Wide receiver Marcus Rucker has 11 receptions for 107 yards in two games. Fellow receiver Tannar Rehrer had eight catches for 51 yards. Left tackle Ronald Leary started his 26th career game against Arkansas State. Punter Tom Hornsey is averaging 43.8 yards per punt,including four of 50 yards or more and five punts that have been down inside the 20-yard line.

Setting The Scene

APSU vs. Memphis

The Series: APSU trails the series, 0-6
Last Meeting: October 5th, 1957: Memphis 41, Austin Peay 0, in Memphis

The Govs rejoined the Ohio Valley Conference for football in 2007 after returning to scholarship football in 2006. The Govs finished eighth in the OVC a year ago with a 1-7 league mark and were 2-9 overall. The Govs are picked to finish ninth in the
2011 OVC Preseason Poll.

Meanwhile, Memphis finished 1-11 a year ago under first-year coach Larry Porter and last in its C-USA East Division (0-8). The Tigers again were picked to finish last in C-USA Preseason Media Poll. The Tigers have had only one winning season since 2006 and permitted 478 points (39.8 ppg) a year ago.

Offensive Notes

Ryan WhiteAustin Peay enters the game with a streak of scoring in 63 straight games. The Govs’ last shutout loss was at Drake, 54-0, September 24th, 2005.

APSU’s two preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference selections are both on offense: senior running back Ryan White, who begins his third season as starting tailback, and junior center Tim Schmid, who has anchored the middle of the offensive line the last two seasons.

Senior running back Ryan White enters the contest fifth all-time in Austin Peay rushing with 2,514 yards. However, he needs only 478 yards for second place behind all-time leader Chris Fletcher (4,688/2004-07). White rushed for 1,850 yards over the previous two seasons, including 1,081 in 2009. He also is fifth in career rushing attempts (525).

Jake RyanDespite starting a little more than one season, junior quarterback Jake Ryan already is ninth in APSU history for career pass attempts (359) and completions (170). Just ahead of him in both categories is his head coach Rick Christophel, who had 384 passing attempts and 175 completions. Ryan also is 12th all-time in passing yards (1863).

Junior wide receiver Devin Stark is Austin Peay’s leading returning receiver after leading the wideouts in catches (19) a year ago. He also had two TD catches. He started the season out with five catches against Cincinnati.

Tim SchmidAPSU’s offensive line has 71 career starts, led by center Tim Schmid (22), tackle James Barker (19), tackle J.P Washington (13), guard Jacob Langston (7), guard Chris Hartman (7), tackle Ben Stansfield (2) and tackle Michael Harrison (1).

Despite a young offensive line in 2010, the Govs still finished third in the OVC in rushing, averaging 167.1 yards per game.

Ryan White finished sixth in the OVC in rushing in 2010, finishing with 769 yards, averaging 69.9 yards per game.

The Governors ranked eighth in FCS in sacks allowed in 2010, permitting only .82 per game.

Wes KittsJunior running back Wesley Kitts scored his first TD, a fourth-quarter eight-yard run, since running for a TD in the season opener against Cumberland a year ago. Kitts finished with 65 yards on nine carries against Cincinnati and a TD. Both his career TDs have come in the last two season openers.

Three redshirt freshmen offensive linemen already have worked their way up the depth chart for 2011. Gavin Willisson, of Fairhope, AL, is the back up center to Tim Schmid while Zach Amis supports him at the position. Meanwhile, Nathan Sanders backs up sophomore Chris Hartman at right offensive guard.

Defensive Notes

Amius SmithAfter playing the 2010 season with just two defensive starters back from the 2009 season, the Governors return nine starters in 2011. It would have been 10 starters had defensive end redshirt senior Preston Keck, who graduated in May, elected to play this season.

Although the Govs defense is more experienced in 2011, the depth chart still reveals much youth. In fact, only one senior, weak safety Amius Smith, is listed as a starter and only one other senior, reserve safety Delton Teeter, is listed on the depth chart.

Darrick DillardAustin Peay returns 8 of its top 10 tacklers from the 2010 season, including three Govs–linebacker Darrick Dillard (84), free safety Antwaun Majors (84) and weak safety Amius Smith (82). who had 80 or more tackles a year ago.

Youth translated into disturbing defense trends for Austin Peay in 2010. The Governors finished ranked 100th or worse (out of 117 teams) in seven different defensive FCS statistical categories–defense third-down efficiency (117), first downs permitted (116); total defense (113), scoring defense (112), rushing defense (111), pass efficiency defense (107) and sacks (112).

Antwaun MajorsIn their respective first seasons as starters, junior linebacker Darrick Dillard and junior free safety Antwaun Majors finished sixth in the OVC in tackles with 84, 7.6 stops per game. Meanwhile, weak safety Amius Smith finished ninth in the OVC in tackles with 82.

When senior weak safety Amius Smith ended with 82 tackles a year ago, it was the second-straight season he ended with 80 or more tackles. He had 88 in 2009 in his first season as a starter.

Reese BulmashSenior safety Amius Smith was named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-OVC team as a linebacker. Smith led the Governors in tackles in the opener, with eight at Cincinnati.

Sophomore tackle Reese Bulmash is taking over as the starting nose tackle in 2010 after serving as a reserve a year ago. The Marietta, GA, native has as his backup redshirt freshman Robbie Bryant, who played offensive line a year ago. Bulmash and Bryant were prep teammates at Sprayberry High School two years ago.

Zac BurkhartInside linebacker Zac Burkhart played for Gary Shephard at Clarksville Academy. Shephard rejoined the Austin Peay staff as defensive line coach during the summer.

Starting inside linebackers Zac Burkhart and Darrick Dillard have had interesting roads to their respective positions. Burkhart mainly was a quarterback and defensive back in high school at Clarksville Academy. Dillard, meanwhile, was signed to be a wide receiver/defensive back and appeared mostly as a wide receiver on the 2009 depth chart.

Preston GilbreathThe Governors had 11 individual double-digit tackling performances in 2010 and all five players who authored those performances are back. Linebacker Darrick Dillard was credited with three double-digit efforts, followed by safeties Antwaun Major and Amius Smith, each with two. Linebackers Zac Burkhart and Zach Lane each had one.

Sophomore defensive end Preston Gilbreath is following in the long-ago footsteps of Bonnie Sloan, the former two-time All-OVC (1971-72) defensive tackle who became the first deaf player to play in the NFL. The hearing-impaired Gilbreath, who started in the early stages of last season, played in all 11 games in 2010, finishing with 23 tackles. Gilbreath, who is aided by hearing aids in both ears, had two tackles for loss.

Special Team Notes

Stephen StansellFor a second straight season junior placekicker Stephen Stansell is on the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Placekicker nominee list and College Football Performance Awards Watch List. Stansell finished 2010 making 12 of 18 field-goal attempts, opening the season connecting on 8 of his first 9. Stansell connected on his only field-goal attempt, a 21 yarder with 1:10 left in the third period against Cincinnati.

Stansell was named OVC Specialist of the Week and College Football Performance Awards Place-Kicker Co-Performer of the Week after his four field-goal performance against Tennessee State, the Govs’ only OVC victory in 2010.

Stansell booted three field goals of 50 yards or more in 2010, setting an APSU record for most 50-yard field goals in a season. In fact, his 51-yard field goal against Wisconsin was Austin Peay’s only points and likewise against Jacksonville State when his 50-yard boot were the Govs’ lone points.

Nick NewsomeStephen Stansell will have a new holder in 2011 as quarterback Jake Ryan takes over for the graduated T.C. Jennings.

Senior Nick Newsome is in his fourth season as the Governors starting long snapper.

With four-year starter and APSU record holder Ryan Key gone as the Govs punter, Stephen Stansell is doing double duty at least early in the season. Freshman Ben Campbell, who also is a tight end, is on board as a punting specialist.

Tee HowellGraduated senior kick return specialist Terrence Holt set an NCAA record with four straight 1,000-yard kickoff return seasons. His successors, including Tee Howell and Terrence Oliver had a combined 67 yards between them entering 2011 at the college level.

With Terrence Holt gone, Tee Howell (5 for 124) and Terrence Oliver (4 for 73) shared the kickoff return duties against Cincinnati. Howell, however, committed a late first-half fumble that set up a Bearcats touchdown.


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