APSU Football • September 24th, 2012 • 6:00pm CDT
Clarksville, TN • Governors Stadium (10,000)
Clarksville, TN – This is Austin Peay’s 39th Ohio Valley Conference season. The Govs are 93-171-2 alltime in OVC play, including 9-29 in OVC openers. The Govs won their OVC opener a year ago, 26-23, against Tennessee State.
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.
Austin Peay last won a football game, 26-23, against Tennessee State, September 18th. They enter the contest amidst a 10-game losing streak.The last time the Governors played Eastern Kentucky in Clarksville, October 24th, 2009, they defeated the Colonels, 24-22, to snap a 22-game losing streak in the series.
Devin Stark’s nine catches against Memphis were a career best and the most by a Govs receiver since the 2006 season. His 107 yards represented his first 100-yard game.
Running back Ryan White continues to climb the career rushing ladder. With this 87 yards against Memphis, he now has 2,601 career yards.
Junior quarterback Jake Ryan passed his coach Rick Christophel in both completions (193), moving into eighth place, and passing yards (2,108), moving into 10th place, after his 23-completion, 245-yard effort at Memphis.
Colonels To Watch
Senior defensive back Jeremy Caldwell was named to the initial Buck Buchanan Award watch list in July. Caldwell is tied for second among active FCS players with 13 career interceptions. He has also been used as a third wide receiver in the season’s first three games. Strong side linebacker Tyson Patrick has 6.5 tackles for loss, including 2.0 quarterback sacks, for a EKU defense that leads the nation in tackles for loss.
Fellow linebacker Ichiro Vance leads the team in tackles with 32, including 5.0 for loss. Safety Patrick McClellan, who was OVC Defensive Player of the Week two weeks ago, has forced two fumbles and recovered one thus far. Defensive ends Shawn Shupperd and Anthony Brown each have 2.5 quarterback sacks.
Junior quarterback T.J. Pryor, who missed the season opener, has completed 29 of 50 passes for 310 yards. His favorite receiver Tyrone Goard has 11 catches for 151 yards. Juco transfer running back Jeremiah Williams has 186 yards rushing. Punter Jordan Berry is averaging 42.7 yards per punt, already dropping eight punts inside the 20-yard line.
Setting The Scene
The Series: APSU trails the series, 4-39
Last Meeting: November 20th, 2010: Eastern Kentucky 17, Austin Peay 3, in Richmond, KY.
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, Eastern Kentucky was picked third in the preseason OVC poll behind Jacksonville State and Murray State. The Colonels return nine offensive and seven defensive starters including a league-high seven players who were named to the 2011 preseason All-OVC team.
Austin Peay enters the game with a streak of scoring in 64 straight games. The Govs’ last shutout loss was at Drake, 54-0, September 24th, 2005.
When the Govs passed for 245 yards against Memphis, Saturday, it was the most passing yards by Austin Peay since it had 261 yards against North Greenville, November 4th, 2006.
A year ago, Austin Peay was 20 of 27 (74 percent) in Red Zone opportunities, including 12 touchdowns. Against Memphis the Governors converted just one-of-four Red Zone opportunities, including missing field goals of 33 and 43 yards.
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 fourth all-time in Austin Peay rushing with 2,601 yards. However, he needs only 391 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.
Junior quarterback Jake Ryan moved past his coach, Rick Christophel, in two career passing categories against Memphis. He is now eighth all time in pass completions with 193, passing Christophel’s 175. He also is now 10th in passing yards with 2,108. Christophel (1971-74) had 2073 yards passing.
Jake Ryan set a career-best with his 245-yard passing effort against Memphis, the most passing yards by a Governor since Mark Cunningham threw for 261 yards in 2006. Ryan also set a personal best with 23 completions against Memphis.
Junior wide receiver Devin Stark, who tied a personal best with five catches against Cincinnati, shattered it with a nine-catch, 109-yard effort against Memphis. It was his first career 100-yard receiving effort.
Senior wide receiver Scott Thomas also set a personal best with five receptions against Memphis, topping four he grabbed on three previous occasions. His 61 reception yards were just one shy of his career best (62 vs. Middle Tennessee, 2010).
When Ryan White caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Jake Ryan with 4:55 left in the third quarter at Memphis, it was his first TD reception in his four-year career.
APSU’s offensive line has 76 career starts, led by center Tim Schmid (23), tackle James Barker (20), tackle J.P Washington (14), guard Jacob Langston (8), guard Chris Hartman (8), tackle Ben Stansfield (2) and tackle Michael Harrison (1).
Junior running back Wesley Kitts scored his first TD, a fourth-quarter eight-yard run against Cincinnati, since running for a TD in the season opener against Cumberland a year ago. Both his career TDs have come in the last two season openers.
Redshirt freshman running back Ean Pemberton, who was suspended for the first two games for a “violation of team policies,” has been reinstated.
After 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.
After permitting 387 yards rushing to Cincinnati, the Govs allowed only 113 yards on 33 carries to Memphis. More importantly, after permitting four rushes of more than 20 yards against Cincinnati, the longest run gained against the Govs at Memphis was just 18 yards.
With his five tackles against Memphis, senior weak safety Amius Smith now has surpassed the career 200-tackle mark with 201.
Austin 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 APSU in 2010. The Govs 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)
In 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.
Senior 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.
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.
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
For 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.
When a botched snap prevented Stephen Stansell from attempting an extra point after the Governors only TD, Saturday, it meant the APSU kicker failed to score in a game for only the second time in his career.
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.
Stephen Stansell has a new holder in 2011 as quarterback Jake Ryan takes over for the graduated T.C. Jennings.
With four-year starter and APSU record holder Ryan Key gone as the Govs punter, Stephen Stansell did doing double duty against Cincinnati. Freshman Ben Campbell took over at Memphis averaging 33 yards per punt.
Graduated 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 (7 for 164) and Terrence Oliver (6 for 90) have shared the kickoff return duties so far.