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HomeSportsAPSU Governors Football takes on Jacksonville State Gamecocks for Homecoming

APSU Governors Football takes on Jacksonville State Gamecocks for Homecoming

Austin Peay (0-7, 0-4) vs. Jacksonville State (5-1, 3-0)

Saturday, October, 24th, 2015 | 4:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Governors Stadium

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – The nation’s No. 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team will visit Austin Peay State University for the 2015 Homecoming contest as Jacksonville State comes to Governors Stadium for a 4:00pm, Saturday, contest.

Topping the media poll and second only to Coastal Carolina in the coaches poll, Jacksonville State (5-1, 3-0 OVC) looks to avoid a letdown ahead of next weekend’s highly-anticipated matchup with consensus Top-15 squad Eastern Kentucky.

Austin Peay Football plays Jacksonville State Saturday at Governors Stadium.
Austin Peay Football plays Jacksonville State Saturday at Governors Stadium.

The Governors (0-7, 0-4 OVC) look to not only play spoiler against the Gamecocks, but secure what would rank as possibly the biggest win in program history.

The Governors got another 100-yard rushing performance, this time from Julian Franklin, but continued struggles in the passing game (11-for-25 combined between Trey Taylor and Timarious Mitchell) have made the offense too one-dimensional in recent weeks. Mitchell has been a bright spot, entering in relief to throw touchdown passes to Jared Beard in back-to-back contests.

APSU Julian FranklinDespite losing Gino Roberson for the season due to a wrist injury, the Governors interior linemen have been the defensive anchors. Nicholis Matiere-Bey (5.5 TFL) and Branden Johnson (5.0 TFL) lead Austin Peay in tackles for loss and are responsible for two of Austin Peay’s four sacks in 2015. Matiere-Bey has become a beast as the season rolls on, leading the defensive line with 25 total tackles despite near-constant double teams.

Johnson, Matiere-Bey and the defense will be up against one of the top offensive units in all of college football—FCS or otherwise. Boasting the fifth-best rushing attack in the nation, the Gamecocks have three rushers – Troymaine Pope (699 yards, 10th), Josh Clemons (359, 100th) and Eli Jenkins (318, 123rd) – rank in the top 150 nationally in rushing.

APSU's Trey TaylorJenkins, the quarterback who has thrown for more than 1,100 yards and 10 scores, and Pope were both named to the CFPA Midseason Watch List this week.

Jacksonville State buoys a strong offensive attack with a stifling run defense, allowing just 93.0 yards per game on the ground (eighth-best nationally). That includes limited days allowed to UT Martin’s Trent Garland (seven carries, 38 yards), Tennessee State’s Telvin Hooks (seven carries, 24 yards) and Chattanooga’s Derrick Craine (12 carries, 59 yards) and Jacob Huesman (19 carries, 50 yards)—all ranked in the top 150 nationally in rushing this season.

Scouting the Gamecocks

Jacksonville State GamecocksWell, they are the nation’s top team—an explosive one at that, averaging 46.8 points the last four games. Jenkins’ numbers don’t support the notion he’s one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, but his play in the Gamecocks near-upset against FBS Auburn (26-of-43 passing, 277 yards, one TD) and in last week’s thrashing of Tennessee Tech, which earned him OVC Player of the Week honors after an 18-of-27, 184-yard, two-touchdown passing day backed up with another 10 carries for 86 yards and a score, make him a threat to watch running or throwing.

As teams have been forced to abandon the run after falling behind against Jacksonville, the absurdly low rushing average may get a test as Austin Peay pounds the rock regardless of score. But it will be up to Austin Peay’s quarterbacks to keep the Gamecocks out of eight- and nine-man fronts – Taylor and Mitchell, whoever is in, will need to be able to throw downfield enough to keep the defense honest.

Last Time Out Against Jacksonville State

Jenkins threw for 146 yards and rushed for another 75, adding passing and rushing touchdowns, as Jacksonville State rolled to a 56-0 win, November 1st, 2014, at Burgess-Snow Field.

The Gamecocks scored seven rushing touchdowns on the day, piling up 416 rushing yards on 60 attempts—the 15th-best single-game rushing total in FCS in 2014.

Keep An Eye On

  • Slow starts: Austin Peay has just five drives of more than five plays in the first quarter this season, although its 16-play, 70-yard drive last week against UT Martin was its season’s longest first-quarter drive; the Governors average first-quarter drive length has been 5.1 plays for 20.6 yards.
  • With Kendall Morris and Taye Davis (who will sit out against Jacksonville State) dinged up against UT Martin, Julian Franklin got the call and responded with the best game of his career, a 16-carry, 102-yard performance that included his first career touchdown run on a 37-yard second-quarter scamper.
  • The Governors have had a punt blocked in five of seven games this season–four off the foot of Evan Toby and one on a pooch attempt from Trey Taylor–a figure that ranks last in the nation; additionally, Austin Peay’s seven total blocked kicks allowed (five punts, one PAT, one field goal attempt) is last nationally as well.
  • On the season, Austin Peay’s 26.4 percent success rate on third down ranks 113th nationally. Additionally, the Governors are allowing opponents to convert at a 54.6 percent rate, ranked 122nd in the nation.
  • Austin Peay seeks its first win against Jacksonville State since 1979, and its first Homecoming victory since 2008. All-time, the Governors are 28-41-1 in Homecoming contests.
  • After Nicholls’ victory against Houston Baptist last weekend, the Governors 12-game losing streak is longest in FCS, four behind FBS New Mexico State for longest in the nation.

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).


With the nation’s top team set to visit Clarksville for Homecoming 2015, head coach Kirby Cannon breaks it down with analyst Van Stokes.


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