Clarksville, TN – Fresh off a convincing road win against Mercer, the Austin Peay State University (APSU)football team once again takes to the road this weekend when the Govs resume a rivalry that has laid dormant since the 1970s against ETSU.Austin Peay’s stout run defense will once again be tested, but at 1.4 yards per carry allowed through three games, the Govs have shown their mettle more than once already in this young season. Now, they’ll get their chance against a team who made the 2018 FCS play-offs, with the Govs eyeing the opportunity to even their non-conference record ahead of Ohio Valley Conference play.
On offense, JaVaughn Craig showed himself more than capable of moving the sticks with a full week of prep work during the Mercer game; after rolling up 252 yards through the air and another 42 on the ground, it’s safe to say the Govs will be okay with Craig at the helm while Jeremiah Oatsvall heals. Last week, Craig split his looks between Keenan Barnes and DeAngelo Wilson against Mercer; Barnes finished with 105 yards receiving, while Wilson led the way with 107, becoming the first pair of Governors receivers with 100-yard receiving yards in the same game since the 2006 season (Lanis Frederick and Kevin Carter at Dayton).
Scouting the Bucs
Preseason All-American Quay Holmes has lived up to the hype, averaging 5.0 yards per carry, to lead the Bucs, but Jacob Saylors (202 yards on just 24 carries) has provided versatility in the ground game.
Nasir Player and Tyree Robinson found themselves on the Preseason Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. Robinson has four breakups through three games, while Player already has 3.5 TFL, but the Bucs could be without Player after he left the VMI game early due to injury. The Bucs secondary has not been very opportunistic, breaking up 13 passes but coming away with no interceptions through three weeks.
Last Time Out Against ETSU
In the 60s and 70s, this was an annual meeting between Ohio Valley Conference foes before ETSU jumped ship to the Southern Conference. The last meeting, in 1978, was a 14-7 Governor win in Johnson City in what was Boots Donnelly’s final game as Austin Peay’s head coach.
- With three games in the books, the Govs are one of just four FCS teams who have yet to surrender a sack. ETSU will provide a test on that front, ranking third in the Southern Conference with 1.67 sacks per game.
- Through three weeks of play, the OVC as a league has one road victory– Austin Peay’s 48-34 win at Mercer on Sept. 14.
- The Govs are the first OVC team to visit Johnson City since ETSU resumed football in 2015.
- Normally, a defensive lineman blowing up an opposing front with 10 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, would be something to shout from the rooftops, yet John Wesley Whiteside’s performance against Mercer was an afterthought in the hubbub surrounding Kordell Jackson’s dueling pick-six performance against the Bears. But the push Whiteside and Co. made up front helped induce Robert Riddle’s happy feet in the Mercer pocket, stymied the Bears run game and overall made life difficult for the hosts. With 18 tackles through three contests, Whiteside is nearly 40 percent of the way to 50, which led the defensive line last season.
- Kentel Williams needs fewer than 100 all-purpose yards to pass Ryan White for fourth all-time.
- Kordell Jackson’s twin pick-six effort against Mercer didn’t just set the Austin Peay record for interceptions returned for a touchdown in a single game–it was the 33rd time in FCS history a player had returned two interceptions for a score in the same game. His second pick-six, a 69-yarder, also is the fourth-longest interception return in Austin Peay history.