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APSU Football’s Defense holds ranked UT Martin Scoreless in 7-0 Win

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University football’s first two victories of the 2017 season featured high-octane offenses obliterating everything in its path. Saturday’s win against 18th-ranked UT Martin was a little different.

A stifling Governor defense swarmed the Skyhawks, pressuring preseason All-OVC quarterback Troy Cook and shutting out one of the league’s most potent offenses in a 7-0 win at Fortera Stadium.

Austin Peay Football beats UT Martin Skyhawks at Fortera Stadium Saturday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Football beats UT Martin Skyhawks at Fortera Stadium Saturday night. (APSU Sports Information)

We’re getting historical with the wins now. The win is Austin Peay’s first against a ranked foe since toppling 20th-ranked Eastern Kentucky at then-Governors Stadium, 24-20, October 24th, 2009.

It’s the first time the Govs have taken down the Skyhawks since 2007. The last time the Governors shut out a Division I opponent was against Middle Tennessee in 1986—a 7-0 overtime affair that was the last victory in a three-game winning streak, which Austin Peay is now on for the first time since 1986.

The last regulation shutout of a DI foe was against Murray State in 1980.

The last 7-0 win against a Division I opponent in regulation? Go back to 1956 against Jacksonville State.

These wins are no longer simply program-changing. They’re history-making.

From The Top

Austin Peay shutout an opponent for the first time since 2012.

The Governors defeated a nationally-ranked opponent for the first time since 2009 (No. 20 Eastern Kentucky).

Austin Peay stretched its winning streak to three games, its first three-game win streak since 1986.

The Govs improved to 2-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play for the first time since 2011.

Austin Peay is now 1-0 in the 2017 Sgt. York Trophy competition.

The defense was simply extraordinary, and it began up front. Jaison Williams, Nate Howard and the rest of the front four put pressure on Cook from the very first play, with the defense registering three sacks (2.5 from Williams alone) and seven hurries.

Cook finished 10-for-31 for 126 yards and two interceptions, with Keawvis Cummings and Kordell Jackson each coming away with their first career interceptions. Cummings’ pick was particularly timely, as the Skyhawks had just crossed over into APSU territory after a 39-yard completion to Jaylon Moore.  

Both starting linebackers were all over the field, with Jeremiah Mitchell and Gunnar Scholato combining for 26 total tackles. Mitchell’s career-high 14 tackles featured a game-altering forced fumble with UT Martin driving in Governors territory in the fourth quarter. Junior Theron Hodges pounced on the loose ball to regain the momentum for the Governors.

Maybe the offense wasn’t putting up 48 points (its average from the previous two contests) but the Governors capitalized on good field position and wore down the Skyhakws with a punishing ground game, spearheaded by freshman Ahmaad Tanner. The Dalton, Georgia native piled up a career-high 90 yards on 13 carries, averaging 6.9 per tote, as the Governors went over 200 yards on the ground as a team for the fourth time this season.

But it wasn’t Tanner, or 2016 OVC All-Newcomer choice Kentel Williams or sophomore quarterback (and team leader in rushing touchdowns) JaVaughn Craig getting the Govs on the board against UT Martin. That honor belonged to a young man with one career rush heading into the contest.

Redshirt freshman Terrius Callahan took the end-around handoff from Craig down the left sideline and launched himself into the end zone. The 22-yard scamper would be the game’s lone score and Callahan’s first touchdown as a Governor.

UT Martin had one final chance in the fourth quarter. Taking over deep in their own territory following a pooch punt from Governors quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall, the Skyhawks had ground out a drive into Austin Peay territory and were fresh off a 36-yard completion from Cook to Londell Lee.

Then Williams got loose in the backfield again, sacking Cook and forcing a fumble in the process. Even though the Skyhawks fell on the loose ball, the strip-sack and ensuing 11-yard loss proved too much to overcome and UT Martin never threatened again.

The Govs took down a ranked foe for the first time under head coach Will Healy, Saturday night. They get another chance next week against league-leading Jacksonville State in a matchup of unbeaten at Fortera Stadium; kickoff is slated for 4:00pm, Saturday.


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