Austin Peay (0-1) at Southern Miss (0-1)
September 12th, 2015 | 2:30pm CDT
Hattiesburg, MS | M.M. Roberts Stadium
Clarksville, TN – After opening up the regular season at home for the first time since 2010, Austin Peay State University will step away from Governors Stadium for the first time this season when the Govs journey south to the Gulf Coast for a match-up with FBS foe Southern Miss, 2:30pm, Saturday, from M.M. Roberts Stadium.
The contest will be aired on the American Sports Network, locally on WUXP (MyTV30).
Southern Miss will represent the first of back-to-back Govs’ road contests against FBS schools, with Austin Peay slated for a trip to Vanderbilt next weekend. Those two opponents will be the fifth and sixth FBS opponents APSU has played under head coach Kirby Cannon and 12th since 2010.
Last week, Austin Peay opened the 2015 campaign with a 28-7 loss to Mercer—a game that was tied at seven at halftime. Unfortunately, the Govs were unable to capitalize on three second-half trips into Mercer territory, including a drive that ended in an interception after the Govs moved the ball inside the Mercer 25-yard line with the Bears up 14-7—Mercer would make it a two-score game with less than seven minutes left after the subsequent possession was turned into a TD.
After senior lineman Bernard Gauldin went down on the first possession last week, the Governors offensive line will be in a state of flux this week. Guard Tyler Miles, who moved to tackle after Gauldin’s departure last week, is slated to shift back inside this week, and allow redshirt freshman Franklin Green to take over at left tackle. Freshman Byron Glass is also slated to make his first start at center.
Coming off a 34-16 loss to Mississippi State in the opener, Southern Miss seeks its first 2015 win as well. Although just 4-20 in head coach Todd Monken’s first two seasons, the Golden Eagles have a rich history in Conference USA and seek their first bowl appearance and winning season since 2011.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
Quarterback Nick Mullens tied Brett Favre for second-most 300-yard passing performances in Southern Miss history with five after throwing for 311 yards in the season-opener against Mississippi State. However, the Golden Eagle ground game failed to average three yards per carry against the Bulldogs (36 carries, 102 yards, 2.8 ypc). Southern Miss has not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2009, when Damion Fletcher finished a career that featured four straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Defensively, preseason All-CUSA pick Michael Smith anchors the defensive line. Reserve safety Picasso Nelson, Jr., led the Golden Eagles with five tackles against Mississippi State.
Last Time Out Against Southern Miss
Although the Govs have a long history with current C-USA and former OVC members Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky, just once—against Memphis in 2011—has Austin Peay played an active member of C-USA, dropping a 27-6 decision to the Tigers.
Keep An Eye On
- Although times have been tough of late, Southern Miss has a long history of success against FCS schools, having won 14 straight. In fact, you have to go back to 1987, when Louisiana-Monroe was a Division I-AA school, to find Southern Miss’ last loss to a I-AA/FCS opponent—the same year Austin Peay beat Kansas State for its last I-A/FBS victory.
- In his first outing on the defensive side of the ball, sophomore safety Malik Boynton led the defense with nine tackles against Mercer.
- Boynton’s former running mate at receiver, Jared Beard, tied his career high with seven catches last week against the Bears.
- Junior Rashaan Coleman is 57 receiving yards away from 500 for his career.
- Senior Adam Noble needs three tackles for 150 in his career.
- Junior Damien Whitfield needs eight tackles for 100 in his career.
- Freshman receiver Juwan Davis had a nice debut (four catches, 42 yards) against Mercer—statistically, better than that of Beard (three catches, 19 yards), Boynton (5-12), Coleman (3-20) or Wesley Thomas (1-4) in their respective debuts.
Austin Peay Govs Online
Check back at LetsGoPeay.com and on Austin Peay’s Official Athletics Facebook page often for up-to-date news about all Governor athletics, as well as the Governors football Twitter page (@AustinPeayFB). Live stats will be available during the game at www.LetsGoPeay.com and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games can be viewed on www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com Postgame video interviews and other videos from around APSU Athletics can be found on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/CultureofExcellence).
Head coach Kirby Cannon with the Governors Sports Network’s Brian Rives before Austin Peay’s trip to Southern Miss.