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HomeSportsAustin Peay Governors Football play Non-OVC opponent Culver-Stockton Wildcats Saturday afternoon

Austin Peay Governors Football play Non-OVC opponent Culver-Stockton Wildcats Saturday afternoon

Austin Peay vs. Culver-Stockton

November 3rd, 2012 • 1:00pm (CT)
Clarksville, TN • Governors Stadium (10,000)

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay will step away from Ohio Valley Conference play in search of its first win when it plays host to Culver-Stockton, 1:00pm, Saturday, at Governors Stadium.

The Wildcats, an NAIA team located in Canton, MO, enter the contest with a 1-8 overall record, but are winless (0-8) in the Heart of American Athletic Conference. They are coming off a 29-9 loss to Baker, the 14th-ranked team in NAIA.

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

Offensively, quarterback Curtis Widener has completed just 42 percent (79 of 188) of his passes for 824 yards and five TDs. Wide receiver Nick Hill is the favorite long target, catching five TD passes in his 20 receptions, averaging 19.1 yards per game. Tight end Chris Cunningham leads all Wildcat receivers with 27 catches while receiver Reco Ragsdale has 19 catches for 305 yards and three TDs.

Redshirt freshman running back Desmond Phillips leads the ground attack, rushing for 419 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, linebacker Bobby Nelessen has a team-best 73 stops while cornerback Drew Bolhuis leads the team in interceptions with three.

The Governors are coming off a 48-27 home loss to Southeast Missouri, seeing their overall mark slip to 0-8 and the OVC mark to 0-6. The 27 points represented the most by the Governors this season.

Quarterback Jake Ryan continued to shine in the latter half of his senior season, completing 23 of 38 passes for 304 yards-his second career 300-yard performance. He has completed 90 passes over the last four games.

Wide receiver Devin Stark caught nine of Ryan’s passes for a career-best 145 yards and two TDs.

In addition, redshirt freshman running back Reco Williams rammed his way for 133 yards-an Austin Peay single-game high this season.

Meanwhile, safety Johnathan Shuler recorded 19 tackles, including seven straight at point. It was the most tackles by a Gov since Daniel Becker had 19 in the 2007 season against Tennessee State.

Offensive Notes

Austin Peay enters the game with a streak of scoring in 80 straight games. The last time APSU was shutout was by Drake, 54-0, September 24th, 2005.

Jake RyanAPSU finished the 2011 season ranked 13th in the FCS in sacks allowed per game (1.0). It was the second straight year the Governors were ranked in the Top 15 in fewest sacks allowed per game. They were 8th in 2010. However, with a revamped offensive line in the season opener, senior quarterback Jake Ryan was pressured constantly, being sacked twice. Since then he has been sacked just seven times, including twice by SEMO. The Govs are 17th nationally in sacks allowed this season.

In the last four games, Govs senior quarterback Jake Ryan 90 of 154 passes (58.4 percent) for 938 yards with seven TD passes and just two interceptions.

With his 38 pass attempts against Southeast Missouri, Jake Ryan moved pass Brian Baker for second place behind Jesse Kellogg for most career pass attempts with 848. Kellogg (2001-05) had 1063 attempts during APSU’s non-scholarship era.

Reco WilliamsIn the box score, it may have looked like a simple Jake Ryan to Jamaar Embry 39-yard second-quarter TD pass but it came on a double lateral from Ryan to Devin Stark back to Ryan, who then threw the pass to a wide open Embry just short of the end zone.

Austin Peay’s 27 points against SEMO was the most scored by the Govs this season. The previous best was 15 at Eastern Illinois.

In three games in the regular rotation at running back, redshirt freshman Reco Williams has produced a pair of 100-yard rushing efforts. He had 110 yards against Murray State and then had an Austin Peay season-best 133 yards on 22 carries against SEMO.

Devin StarkSenior wide receiver Devin Stark not only recorded his third 100-yard receiving effort this season against Southeast Missouri but tallied his career-best in receiving yards (145) on nine catches. Earlier this season, he set a career best in receptions (10) against Murray State.

Junior running back/wide receiver Terrence Oliver enjoyed a career performance against Eastern Illinois, catching nine passes for 100 yards. He caught his first career TD pass against Murray State.

Senior wide receiver Devin Stark has caught at least two passes in all eight games this season. He has 48 receptions for 449 yards on the season.

With a 12-yard first-quarter pass reception against Tennessee State, Devin Stark reached the 1,000-career pass reception yard mark in his career. He became only the 13th receiver in school history with 1,000 receiving yards.

When Wesley Kitts finished with 110 yards on 22 carries against Virginia Tech it made it two straight games for the senior running back with 100 yards rushing (he had 104 versus Western Kentucky). Kitts was the first APSU running back to open with two consecutive 100-yard rushing performances since Chris Fletcher opened 2007 with four straight 100-yard rushing efforts.

Wes KittsWhen Wesley Kitts rushed for 104 yards against Western Kentucky he became the first Governors to rush for more than 100 yards against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program. He then eclipsed that yardage figure with 110 yards on 22 carries at Virginia Tech.

Jake Ryan’s 271 passing yards against Tennessee State ranked as the second most in the senior’s career. He had 314 yards against TSU in 2011.

Receiver-turned-running back Terrence Oliver recorded his first career TD with a 10-yard run against Virginia Tech.

Senior wide receiver Devin Stark finished 2011 with 53 receptions on the season, the most by a Gov since Lanis Frederick grabbed 77 in the 2006 season. He also had seven TD catches, most by a Govs receiver since Frederick had seven in 2006.

Terrence OliverStark was named second-team preseason All-America by the FCS Senior Bowl.

When wide receiver/running back Terrence Oliver looked up in the second quarter against Western Kentucky, good friend, former prep teammate and now roommate O.C. Brown was blocking for him. In 2009, Brown was the primary subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated” while at Manassas High School with Oliver also make appearances in the production.

Defensive Notes

Johnathan ShulerAlthough the Governors defense is more experienced in 2012, the depth chart still reveals much youth. In fact, only three seniors, safety Antwaun Majors, tackle Anthony Marion and linebacker Darrick Dillard were listed on the two-deep entering the season. Majors is out for the year after suffering a torn ACL while Dillard has not played since the opener.

Sophomore free safety Johnathan Shuler set a team season-high with 19 tackles against Southeast Missouri. He was the first Governor to record 19 or more tackles since Daniel Becker, September 15th, 2007, against Tennessee State.

Craig SalleyJunior linebacker Craig Salley leads the Govs in tackles with 59, now followed by Shuler at 55 and then fellow linebacker Josh Carroll (54) while sophomore safety Steven Rich has 51

Freshman defensive end Corey Teague recorded his first career interception while also recording a sack at Eastern Kentucky.

A trio of sophomore defensive backs–Steven Rich, Montez Carlton and Johnathan Shuler–not only led APSU in tackles against UT Martin with seven but also had interceptions

Junior linebacker Craig Salley, a former walk-on, recorded his career’s first double-digit tackle performance with 11 against Tennessee State, including 10 solo stops.

Junior defensive end Earnest Smith produced his career’s best performance against Virginia Tech. Smith finished with eight tackles, including a sack of All-America candidate Logan Thomas. He also was credited with another tackle for loss along with forcing a fumble.

Senior safety Antwaun Majors not only was APSU’s tackles leader (88) in 2011, but finished eighth in the OVC, averaging 8.0 per game. A former walk on, Majors had 80 or more tackles in each of the last two years, finishing with 84 tackles in 2010 and 88 in 2011.

Senior safety Antwaun Majors was named preseason first-team All-OVC by Phil Steele Magazine in its Fall 2012 Preview. Majors, who led Austin Peay in tackles last season with 88, was the Governors only first-team selection.

Special Teams Notes

Stephen StansellSenior placekicker Stephen Stansell became Austin Peay’s all-time leader in field goals made (34) with a pair of 35-yard field goals against UT Martin. He passed the longtime mark held by Tom McMillan, who had 33 from the 1986-89.

Stansell is ranked second all-time in point-after-touchdowns made with 80.

Stansell was the only OVC kicker to be perfect in point-after-touchdown attempts in 2011. He ended the season 22 of 22. In his career he is 75 of 77 (97.4 percent) in extra-point attempts, ranking No. 1 in career extra-point percentage.

Ben Campbell has averaged 40 yards or better per punt in three straight games, the first time it has been done since Ryan Key opened the 2010 season with five straight games averaging 40 yards per punt or more.

Ben Campbell has averaged 42.1 yards per punt over the last three games, with four punts downed inside the 20 and four more in excess of 50 yards, including a career-long 68 yarder. He has had eight punts fair caught in that span.

Ben CampbellStansell has both a new holder and snapper in 2012. After Nick Newsome served as APSU’s long snapper for four seasons, the Govs have turned to redshirt sophomore Michael Dunphy in 2012. In addition, back-up kicker and long snapper Walter Spears now is serving as holder for Stansell after Jake Ryan handled much of the duties a year ago.

Two seasons after losing All-America kick return specialist Terrence Holt, APSU still is seeking a replacement for kickoff and punt returns. Freshman J.J. Rutledge has handled much of those duties in the season’s first half. Meanwhile, Ean Pemberton returned his first career punts at Virginia Tech.


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