October 29th, 2011 • 4:00pm CDT • 2011 Homecoming
Clarksville, TN • Governors Stadium (10,000)
Clarksville, TN – This will be Austin Peay’s 67th homecoming–”Jurassic Peay” the theme–with the Govs owning a 28-37-1 record in those events. After winning homecoming games in both 2007 and 2008, the Govs have lost the last two homecomings, including a 34-21 defeat to Tennessee Tech a year ago. APSU has won just seven homecoming games in the past 24 years.
This is Austin Peay’s third of three homecomings in October. On October 8th, the Govs lost at UT Martin, 61-23. Last week the Govs lost 17-13 at Southeast Missouri. The 17-13 loss to Southeast Missouri was APSU’s third straight loss, making it four
straight seasons the Govs have lost at least three straight games.
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.
Panthers To Watch
Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo already has thrown for 2,000 yards, completing 63.3 percent of his passes while tossing 17 TD passes. Chris Wright is his favorite downfield receiver with 29 catches, averaging 16.9 yards per catch and eight TDs. Slot receiver Kenny Whitaker has a team-leading 42 catches for 409 yards. Jake Walker is the team’s leading rusher, but has only 280 yards.
Guard Eric Zink was a preseason All-OVC selection along with defensive end Artavious Dowdell, who has 3.0 sacks among his 5.5 tackles for loss. Outside linebackers Cory Leman (77) and Antonio Taylor (70) lead the team in tackles. Tavares Crawford leads the special teams, taking over for injured Lorence Ricks, and is averaging 27.1 yards per kick return. Kicker Cameron Berra has made four field goals.
Setting The Scene
The Series: APSU trails the series, 3-8
Last Meeting: Oct. 30th, 2010: Eastern Illinois 28, Austin Peay 10
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 were picked to finish ninth in the 2011 OVC Preseason Poll.
Meanwhile, Eastern Illinois was picked seventh in the league preseason poll in coach Bob Spoo’s 25th and final EIU season. Since rejoining the OVC, the Govs and Panthers have played three times, with Eastern Illinois winning two of three meetings. EIU opened the 2011 season with a win against Illinois State but enter this week amidst a seven-game losing streak.
Austin Peay enters the game with a streak of scoring in 69 straight games. The Govs’ last shutout loss was at Drake, 54-0, September 24th, 2005.
With his 148-yard rushing performance, running back Ryan White moved past John Ogles and Jay Bailey into second place in career rushing with 3,057. His predecessor, Chris Fletcher (4,688) is the all-time leader.
Austin Peay rushed for 183 yards against Southeast Missouri, but only 60 in the second half.
The Govs opening drive against SEMO went a season-long 95 yards on 13 plays, eating up 6:46 on the clock. It was Austin Peay’s longest touchdown drive since they drove 99 yards in 11 plays against Illinois State, September 9th, 2009.
After committing one turnover total in their first two OVC games, the Governors have committed 10 in the last three games.
Austin Peay leads the OVC in turnovers with 19, including a league-high 13 interceptions.
Despite achieving a season-best 50 percent (8 of 16) of third-down conversions, the Governors are still last in the OVC in third-down conversions at 30.5 percent.
Senior wide receiver Scott Thomas has a career-best 23 receptions along with a careerhigh 252 receiving yards.
Senior wide receiver Devin Stark has 38 receptions on the season, the most by a Gov since Lanis Frederick grabbed a career-best 70 in the 2006 season.
Freshman quarterback Landon Curtis, replacing an injured (knee) Jake Ryan against Southeast Missouri, completed his first career pass attempt, a 12-yarder to tight end Preston Rouse. He finished 6 of 12 for 36 yards in the final half.
Jake Ryan threw for a career-high 314 yards on 21-of-41 passing, including two touchdowns against Tennessee State, October 8th.
When Jake Ryan threw for 314 yards against Tennessee State it was the first time a Governors quarterback threw for more than 300 yards in a game since 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.
A week after freshman wide receiver Darryl Clack caught his first career TD pass–a 72 yarder against Tennessee State–another freshman, Jamaar Embry, was on the receiving end of his first career TD catch,a 10 yarder from Jake Ryan against UT Martin, October 15th.
Senior running back Ryan White now is seventh all-time in career all-purpose yardage with 3,416 yards. Along the way, he passed the only two football Govs to have their respective jerseys retired, Harold “Red” Roberts (3,061) and John Ogles (2,960).
Junior 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.
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.
When Ryan White caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Jake Ryan with 4:55 left in the third quarter at Memphis, it was the first TD reception in his four-year career.
The 17 points allowed by the Governors to Southeast Missouri tied for the fewest permitted this season. The Govs also allowed only 17, September 24th, in APSU’s win against Eastern Kentucky.
After failing to force a turnover against UT Martin, the Govs’ defense forced four against Jacksonville State–three fumbles and one interception.
Austin Peay ranks eighth in the OVC in scoring defense (38.9 ppg).
After permitting more than 300 yards passing the previous two games, the Governors allowed has allowed just just 263 yards passing combined in the last two games.
Senior weak safety Amius Smith tallied his second straight double-digit tackle effort against Southeast Missouri with a season-best 11. He had 10 against JSU. The local product also had one fumble recovery but failed to record a tackle for loss for the first time this season.
Junior free safety Antwaun Majors, despite being credited with five tackles at SEMO, still leads the Govs in tackles with 56. Majors has had a team-best three double-digit tackle efforts this season.
Strong safety EnRiques Perry may have enjoyed his best game as a Governor against SEMO. He was credited with seven tackles, including a quarterback sack.
Sophomore defensive end Rip Rowan blocked an extra point and returned it for the defensive two-point conversion against UT Martin. He also had a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries against the Skyhawks.
After recording nine tackles for loss 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.
With five tackles against Memphis, senior weak safety Amius Smith surpassed the career 200-tackle mark. He now has 240.
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 2011 after serving as a reserve a year ago. The Marietta, GA, native’s back up is 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 Teams Notes
Over the past three games, freshman punter Ben Campbell is averaging 40.3 yards per punt, with two punts over 50 yards, two more downed inside the 20 and five being fair caught. He averaged 40 yards per punt against Southeast Missouri.
Junior placekicker Stephen Stansell connected on 37- and 33-yard field goals at Southeast Missouri along with an extra point. He now has 142 career points, leaving him seventh all-time in career scoring.
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. As a result of his three
field-goal effort against Tennessee State, Stansell was named OVC Specialist of the Week.
Rip Rowan blocked an extra point and returned it nearly 90 yards for the two-point defensive conversion during the third period against UT Martin, October 8th. It was APSU’s first defensive extra point conversion since Tyrone Wilson returned a blocked kick against Western Kentucky, September 21st, 1996.
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.
Stephen Stansell had a new holder in 2011 as quarterback Jake Ryan took over for the graduated T.C. Jennings. With Ryan out, backup placekicker Walter Spears is handling the chore. Meanwhile, Nick Newsome is in his fourth season as the Govs starting long snapper.
With four-year starter and APSU record holder Ryan Key gone as the Govs punter, Stephen Stansell did double duty against Cincinnati. Freshman Ben Campbell took over at Memphis and has punted the last three games.