Clarksville, TN – Since the mid-1980’s Austin Peay State University (APSU)’s football program has tested their mettle against NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, but it would be hard to argue they have ever faced a more formidable opponent than their September 1st season-opening challenger the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
The Governors have played almost 20 different FBS teams, led by six meeting versus the University of Cincinnati from 1985 to 2017, but never have they squared off against a team that played for College Football Playoff National Championship last, but also enters the season as the Associated Press’ pre-season third-ranked team.
The number-three national ranking coming into the game for Georgia gives the Bulldogs the highest national-ranked opponent the Govs will have played in their history, topping the number 11-national ranking by the University of Wisconsin, who Austin Peay played during the 2010 season.
Among the other national ranked teams, the Govs have played in their past include Virginia Tech (15th) in 2012 and the University of Central Florida last season, who were ranked 17th nationally the week the Govs played them but finished the season undefeated and with a national ranking of sixth.
But while the Govs only own one program win versus an FBS team, coming back during the 1987 season at Kansas State in a 26-22 victory, they have put up some solid efforts – including putting up 33 points on Central Florida last season, which was up to that point in their undefeated season the most points scored versus the Knights and six more than Auburn scored on UCF in the Peach Bowl.
While Georgia comes in ranked in the Top-five in the FBS, the Governors also come in with a national ranking to start the season for the first time in the programs history with a number-22 national ranking among Football Championship Subdivision teams.
While the Govs will be facing a Georgia team that had a Southeastern Conference best 12 players selected to the All-SEC pre-season team, the Govs enter the matchup with a significant amount of talent returning from last year’s 8-4 team, including two defensive standouts, Jaison Williams (defensive end) and Gunnar Scholato (linebacker), who have been tabbed preseason All-Americans; while quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall was a freshman All-American following last season, with Ahmaad Tanner (running back) and Kordell Jackson (defensive back) earning honorable mention All-American nods.
While the Govs enter the game as a heavy underdog, they will also enter as one of the most talented teams the Govs have ever put on a football field and with this being the opening game of the season Georgia will have many questions that they too have to answer, so this game just could be just a little closer than most would think.