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Austin Peay Governors vs. UT Martin

October 8th, 2011 • 2:00pm CDT
Martin, TN • Hardy M. Graham Stadium (8,500)

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Saturday’s victory against Tennessee State allowed Austin Peay to open 2-0 in the OVC for the first time since 1977, the same season the Govs opened 3-0 for the last time.

When APSU rallied from being down 27-6, that 21-point deficit was the largest overcome by the Governors in school history. The previous largest deficit was 17 points, October 28th, 1978, when the Governors rallied from a 17-0 deficit to defeat Middle Tennessee, 28-17.

Stansell kicking the game winning field goal against Tennessee State. APSU Football. (Courtesy: Mateen Sidiq/Austin Peay)
Stansell kicking the game winning field goal against Tennessee State. APSU Football. (Courtesy: Mateen Sidiq/Austin Peay)

The Govs-UTM match up will be the second for each in the 2011 Sergeant York Trophy Series. UTM lost to Tennessee Tech, 34-31, also last Saturday in a season-opening Sergeant York Trophy game.

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.

Junior quarterback Jake Ryan was named OVC co-Offensive Player of the Week (with Southeast Missouri’s Matt Scheible) for his two-TD, 300-yard passing effort against Tennessee State.

Junior placekicker Stephen Stansell was named OVC Specialist of the Week for his three field-goal effort, including the game winner with 10.1 seconds left, against Tennessee State.

Skyhawks To Watch

Running back Jason McNair has rushed for 394 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Fellow junior running back Tevin Barksdale has rushed for 290 yards, including 6.4 yards per carry. Quarterback Derek Carr already has thrown for 970 yards and six TDs on the season. Junior Stephen Shiver leads the team with 20 catches for 316 yards. Tight end/fullback Kenny Jones was named preseason All-OVC.

Defensive back Kendall Harper also was named preseason All-OVC and has 18 stops on the season. Linebacker Jarvis McCann leads the team in tackles with 24 stops. Linebacker Ben Johnson leads the team in initial hits with 14, including a team-leading 2.5 sacks. Nose tackle Darrin McNalls leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss. His backup is former Tennessee defensive lineman Montori Hughes. Placekicker is Cody Sandlin has made six-of-eight field-goal attempts.

Setting The Scene

The Series: APSU trails the series 25-32-2
Last Meeting: November 6th, 2010; UT Martin 28, Austin Peay 12

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, UT Martin, which finished tied for fourth a year ago in the OVC race, was picked to finish sixth in the league preseason poll. Since rejoining the OVC, the Govs and Skyhawks have played four times, with Govs going 1-3 in those games. UT Martin has won the last three meetings.

Offensive Notes

Austin Peay enters the game with a streak of scoring in 66 straight games. The Govs’ last shutout loss was at Drake, 54-0, September 24th, 2005.

Austin Peay has recorded 65 first downs over the last three games, including 24 against Tennessee State. It was most first downs by the Govs since they had 24 in winning at Southeast Missouri, October 10th, 2009.

Jake RyanJake Ryan threw for a career-high 314 yards on 21-of-41 passing, including two touchdowns against Tennessee State. As a result, Ryan jumped into seventhplace all-time for APSU career completions with 227.

Jake Ryan and Tennessee State quarterback Mike German each threw for more than 300 yards. It is the fourth and fifth time this season an Ohio Valley Conference quarterback has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game.

The last time a Governors quarterback threw for more than 300 yards in a game was Mark Cunningham’s 308-yard performance, October 28th, 2006 at Charleston, W.Va., meaning Ryan’s passing effort was the best by a Govs quarterback since returning to scholarship football.

Devin StarkDevin Stark had seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown against TSU. Last season, Stark led the Governors receivers with 19 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns. This season, Stark has 27 catches for 346 yards and four touchdowns.

Devin Stark is now ranked in the Top 20 in two receiving categories. His 6.75 receptions per game are tied for 14th best in FCS statistics while his 86.50 yards per game are ranked 20th best.

With only his second reception, freshman wide receiver Darryl Clack recorded his first career TD, a 72-yard catch across the middle that saw him run away from the TSU defenders over the final 30 yards.

Ryan WhiteWhen Ryan White rushed for 132 yards on 27 attempts against Eastern Kentucky, September 24th, it was the senior running back’s 11th career 100-yard game and first of 2011. He now has 2,786 career rushing yards and needs just 206 yards to move into second place all-time behind Chris Fletcher’s 4,688 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 now is seventh all-time in career all-purpose yardage with 3,111 yards, passing wide receiver great Harold “Red” Roberts. In the past two weeks has moved past two Austin Peay Hall of Fame members, in fact, two players who have had their uniform numbers retired, Roberts and running back John Ogles (2,960).

Scott ThomasJunior quarterback Jake Ryan moved past his coach, Rick Christophel, in two career passing categories against Memphis, pass completions (Christophel had 175) and passing yards (Christophel had 2,073). Christophel played quarterback for APSU from 1971-74.

Jake Ryan set a then-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 set a personal best 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.

Tim SchmidWhen 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 81 career starts, led by center Tim Schmid (24), tackle James Barker (21), tackle J.P Washington (15), guard Jacob Langston (9), guard Chris Hartman (9), tackle Ben Stansfield (2) and tackle Michael Harrison (1).

Defensive Notes

After they permitted Tennessee State to score on its first five possessions of the game in falling behind 27-6, the Govs’ defense held TSU scoreless in its last five possessions of the game.

Antwaun MajorsAfter facing a TSU offensive line that average 320 pounds, the Governors defensive front this week will face an offensive line that averages just 284.

For a second straight game, junior free safety Antwaun Majors collected 11 tackles, including seven initial hits against Tennessee State. For a second straight game, he also was involved in forcing a turnover. Against Eastern Kentucky, he picked off a pass. Against TSU he forced the fumble that led to APSU’s gamewinning drive.

Strong safety Amius Smith collected nine tackles against Tennessee State and recovered the fumble that led to the Govs’ game-winning field goal. Smith had one tackle for loss against TSU, giving him at least one tackle for loss in every game this season.

Amius SmithAfter the Govs failed to record a sack in their season‘s first two games, they tallied four on the night against Eastern Kentucky. However, they failed to record a sack against TSU.

After recording nine tackles for loss combined in the season‘s first two games, the Govs almost matched that number against Eastern Kentucky. They finished with eight, which was four more than Eastern Kentucky, the FCS leader in that category entering the contest.

When sophomore cornerback Steven Ragin intercepted a pass in the first quarter against Eastern Kentucky, it was the Govs’ first interception this season. Junior safety Antwaun Majors later recorded the Govs’ second interception.

Steven RaginJunior free safety Antwaun Majors, who was the Govs’ co-leader in tackles a year ago, has led the Govs in tackles in each of the last three games, totalling 30 stops. He was OVC Defensive Player of the Week after tallying had 11 stops and one interception against Eastern Kentucky.

Inside linebacker Josh Carroll had a productive night against Eastern Kentucky in his first college start. Not only was he the Govs’ second-leading tackler with nine stops, but he also was credited with 1.5 tackles for loss (one quarterback sack) and a quarterback hurry. He came back with eight tackles against Tennessee State, including one for loss.

Josh CarrollAustin Peay’s top three tacklers against Eastern Kentucky, free safety Antwaun Majors, linebacker Josh Carroll and defensive end Earnest Smith, are all former walk-ons who are now on scholarship.

With five tackles against Memphis, senior weak safety Amius Smith surpassed the career 200-tackle mark. He now has 214.

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 has taken 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.

Special Team Notes

Stephen StansellJunior placekicker Stephen Stansell broke his streak of misses at three with a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter against Tennessee State. He proceeded to hit three straight, including the game winner from 35 yards out with 10.1 seconds left.

Stansell now has connected on seven consecutive field goals against Tennessee State over a two-year period.

As a result of his three field-goal effort against Tennessee State, Stansell was named OVC Specialist of the Week.

Making his first appearance as the starting kick returnee, sophomore Kamron Johnson averaged 25 yards per return, including a 43 yarder.

Ben CampbellIn two games as APSU’s punter, freshman Ben Campbell had dropped five punts inside the 20 yard line and only four punts have been returned on him for a total of 19 yards.

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.

The usually reliable Stephen Stansell missed three straight field goals, including missed both field goal opportunities against Memphis and then missed a 47 yarder against Eastern Kentucky.

When a botched snap prevented Stephen Stansell from attempting an extra point after the Governors only TD at Memphis, September 17th, it meant the APSU kicker failed to score in a game for only the second time in his career.

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. Meanwhile, 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 did doing double duty against Cincinnati. Freshman Ben Campbell took over at Memphis and has punted the last two games.

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