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APSU Sports Information
Cookeville, TN – In a tale of two halves, Austin Peay State University’s second half against Tennessee Tech mirrored all-too-well the 2015 regular season as a whole, with the Govs falling 42-24 at Tucker Stadium to wrap up the 2015 season.Austin Peay (0-11, 0-8 OVC) took a 24-21 lead into halftime at Tucker Stadium and had, unquestionably, its finest offensive showing of the season during the first 30 minutes of play against the Golden Eagles.
But offensive stagnation (58 total second half yards) allowed Tennessee Tech (3-7, 2-5 OVC) to control the clock, field position and ultimately the game, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half.
The Governors got out to a good start, scoring twice in the first quarter. Sophomore Jared Beard figured prominently into the proceedings in the opening quarter, catching a nice six-yard fade to open the scoring after a 10-play, 83-yard drive kept alive by two scrambles from Trey Taylor, including an 11-yard run on third-and-nine and a 31-yard scamper to inside the Tennessee Tech 10-yard line.
The game turned into a shootout late in the first quarter, with three touchdowns coming in the final 1:38 of the quarter. First, Krys Cates hauled in a tremendous one-handed snag from Brock McCoin, moonlighting as a quarterback again from his usual spot at wide receiver—McCoin would take the majority of the snaps for the Golden Eagles for a still-ailing Jared Davis.
It wouldn’t be long before the Governors re-took the lead. On the first play from scrimmage in the next possession, Taylor dropped back and found a streaking Beard along the left sideline. He hit him in stride and Beard coasted into the end zone from 79 yards out to make it 14-7 and give Beard his second career multi-score game.
Back came the Golden Eagles, on the feet of the man who would haunt the Governors defense all afternoon. Ladarius Vanlier took the handoff on the second play from scrimmage on the next Tennessee Tech possession, turned the left corner and hit the jets, outrunning the defense for 46 yards and the score.
Vanlier would give Tennessee Tech its first lead following a Governors three-and-out. McCoin was the engine on that drive, hitting Colton Belew for 27 yards on the first play and scrambling for 14 to take the Golden Eagles down to the goal line. Vanlier would take it in from two-yards out to make it 21-14, Golden Eagles.
After trading punts, Austin Peay turned to the ground game for its next score. Kendall Morris carried four times for 39 yards on the drive, getting the Govs to the goal line with a 33-yard run and punching it in from a yard out on the next play.
After a Tennessee Tech punt, the Govs took over with 3:11 remaining in the half. Two Taylor-to-Wesley Thomas connections—one for 30 yards, another for 11 on fourth-and-five—put the Governors in position for a late field goal, which Logan Birchfield converted from 35 yards out to send Austin Peay into the locker room with a lead, 24-21, for the first time in 2015.
The squads traded punts to open the third quarter, and then Vanlier broke bad again. After a pair of McCoin rushes, Vanlier broke a tackle, found some open field and then outraced everyone into the end zone from 51 yards away to give the Golden Eagles a lead they would not relinquish.
McCoin hooked up with Cates again for Tennessee Tech’s next score, finding a wide-open Cates from 46 yards out to extend the lead to 35-24.
Fittingly, McCoin and Vanlier put the cap on the scoring and the contest for Tennessee Tech. Early in the fourth quarter, Vanlier snuck out of the backfield and McCoin lofted a pass to him in a soft spot of the Governors secondary. From there, the Nashville native hit the afterburners and raced untouched 69 yards for the end zone.
Vanlier’s four scores were the end of a career that tormented Austin Peay. He finished with 272 all-purpose yards (131 rushing, 74 receiving, 67 on returns) on 16 total touches—the second year in a row that Vanlier has averaged 10 yards per touch against the Govs. He’s posted at least 150 all-purpose yards in three of his four career contests against the Govs.
As for Austin Peay, the Governors second half was marred by inconsistency; after needing just a half of football to break the 300-yard total offense barrier for just the third time in 2015, the Governors mustered only 58 yards total offense and two first downs in the second half.
Beard (six catches, 110 yards) and Thomas (7-63) were favored targets of Taylor, who enjoyed his season’s finest outing—17-of-30, 208 yards, two touchdowns along with 12 carries for 70 yards on the ground—in his final career game. Morris also posted his season’s third 100-yard outing, carrying a career-high 26 times for 112 yards.
With McCoin taking the snaps, the Golden Eagles didn’t throw much but they gashed the Govs when they did drop back to pass. Tennessee Tech averaged 13.7 yards per attempt (compared to Austin Peay’s 6.7 mark) and 25.8 yards per completion (the Govs were at 12.2 ypc).
“It was a real good series. We get a stop, get the ball and hit a couple of plays. We showed some offensive maturity to set up for that field goal. We use our timeouts right and got some good play that you should expect in the 11th ball game of the year. It was a big boost; we came in at halftime and felt good on both sides.” – Kirby Cannon on Austin Peay’s last first-half drive
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Football, APSU Men's Football, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Brock McCoin, cookeville TN, Golden Eagles, Governors, Govs, Jared Beard, Jared Davis, Kendall Morris, Kirby Cannon, Ladarius Vanlier, Logan Birchfield, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Tennessee Tech, Trey Taylor, Tucker Stadium, Wesley Thomas
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