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HomeSportsAPSU Football loses heart-breaker in final seconds to Tennessee State

APSU Football loses heart-breaker in final seconds to Tennessee State

APSU Sports Information

APSU Football - Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University football team racked up a school record 644 total yards of offense against Tennessee State, Saturday at Fortera Stadium, but suffered a heartbreaking 41-40 loss in the final seconds after taking the lead with 1:05 remaining on the clock.

Austin Peay freshman quarterback JaVaughn Craig threw for 322 yards, 5 touchdowns and rushed for 144 yards in loss to Tennessee State at Fortera Stadium.
Austin Peay freshman quarterback JaVaughn Craig threw for 322 yards, 5 touchdowns and rushed for 144 yards in loss to Tennessee State at Fortera Stadium.

Freshman quarterback JaVaughn Craig totaled five touchdowns in the contest, three of which going to junior receiver Jared Beard.

Beard’s final grab of the game went for a 40-yard score, putting the Governors on top 40-34.

However, the Tigers put together a six-play, 81-yard drive, capping it off with a 21-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Ronald Butler to Steven Newbold with two seconds remaining.

Turning Point

On its final drive, Tennessee State opened with passes of 14 and 11 yards, setting them up at their own 33. Butler then rushed twice for a combined 20 yards before a pass interference call on APSU set the Tigers up for the game-winner.

Inside the Box Score

Austin Peay’s 644 yards of offense is a school record, breaking the previous mark set on November 23rd, 1996 against UT Martin.

Craig’s five touchdowns breaks the APSU freshman quarterback record and ties Brian Baker for the most touchdown passes in a single game.

Craig becomes the first Gov to score five or more touchdowns in a single-game since Daniel Williams in the 1996 UT Martin game.

It’s also the most passing touchdowns since Jake Ryan tossed four against Tennessee Tech in 2012.

Overall, Craig finished with 466 total yards, the last Gov to go over 400 since Baker in 2001 versus Campbellsville. In addition, it’s the most by an Ohio Valley Conference player this season.

Craig’s 5 touchdown passes ties for the best mark in the OVC and is the tied for the 9th best in the NCAA on the season. He is also tied for the most touchdown passes in a game for freshman on the season.

In the first quarter, Demarion Allen scooped up a fumble on a TSU point after try, returning it 98 yards into the endzone for two points. He becomes the first Gov to score a defensive two-point conversion since Rip Rowan at UT Martin, October 8th, 2011.

Beard recorded his fourth 100-plus yard receiving game, finishing with 146 yards and matched his career-high in touchdowns with three.

Junior Kyran Moore did virtually everything for the Govs, playing offense, defense and special teams. Moore rushed for 61 yards, caught one ball for 32 yards, threw a pass, handled kickoff/punt return duties and went back to his secondary roots to record his second career interception.

Freshman running back Kentel Williams quietly posted 173 total yards, a career-best.

Linebacker Gunnar Scholato, the NCAA’s leader in tackles, led the team in tackles with seven.


Head Coach Will Healy‘s overall thoughts

“I’m heartbroken. This is what college football is all about. Our kids are just so resilient, coming out and putting it all on the line each day of practice. You wouldn’t watch us and think we’re a football team who hasn’t won nine games in. The part that hurts the worst is I wanted them to have success so badly. There are people who are so supportive of what we’re doing and it breaks your heart when you don’t win on the scoreboard.”

Head Coach Will Healy on moving in the right direction

“The people who say they’d rather get blown out than beat by one point are lying to you. At the end of the day, you want to be competitive. You want your kids to understand how close we are as a program. We’re moving in the right direction and I think that was pretty evident today.”

Head Coach Will Healy on JaVaughn Craig‘s record day

“As much of a player as he’s been, JaVaughn has been a really good leader. He was a team captain for us today, and he just competes. I looked at his face, I looked at Kentel Williams‘ face, I looked at Kyran Moore, and those kids left it all on the field. The thing I have to say tomorrow is you left everything on the field and even though you didn’t get the outcome you wanted, that does not change who you are becoming and what you need to continue doing.”


1st Quarter

APSU 10:18 – Austin Peay opened the scoring as tight end James Coleman was on the receiving end of a six-yard touchdown pass thrown by JaVaughn Craig.

TSU 4:00 – The Tigers answered back as Ronald Butler fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Steven Newbold.

APSU 4:00 – On the Tennessee State PAT attempt, the Govs scooped up a fumble, pitched it back to Demarion Allen, who returned it 98 yards for two points.

TSU 1:31 – Before the end of the opening quarter, Butler found Mahlon Medley for his second touchdown, this one from 27 yards out.

2nd Quarter

TSU 10:40 – Butler used his legs to find the endzone on Tennessee State’s next drive, maneuvering his way in on a 13-yard rushing touchdown.

APSU 2:01 – Wide receiver Jared Beard moved up the career receiving charts with a 34-yard touchdown reception thrown by Craig.

APSU 0:00 – Before the halftime horn, Nick Gauna split the uprights with a 36-yard field goal.

3rd Quarter

TSU 13:36 – Butler’s fourth touchdown of the evening came on a 39-yard strike to Patrick Smith.

TSU 4:49 – Following an APSU turnover deep in TSU territory, the Tigers scored on their first play – an 84-yard burst by Lane Clark.

APSU 0:25James Coleman hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game, a five-yard reception from Craig.

4th Quarter

APSU 6:05 – Beard grabbed another touchdown from six yards out which cut the deficit to 34-32. The two-point try was no good.

APSU 1:05 – Beard helped the Govs take the lead with 65 seconds remaining, with Craig hitting the junior in the back of the endzone for a 40-yard touchdown. 

TSU 0:02 – With two seconds remaining, the Tigers scored to tie the game – a 21-yard touchdown pass from Butler to Steven Newbold. The extra point was good to put TSU up 41-40.

What’s Next

Austin Peay completes its home and OVC schedule next Saturday, November 12th, against Eastern Kentucky at Fortera Stadium.

Fans can also follow all the action from the 2016-17 season on www.LetsGoPeay.com, on Twitter @LetsGoPeay & @AustinPeayFB and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LetsGoPeay

Photo Gallery


Highlights – Govs vs. TSU


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