#22 Austin Peay (7-3 | 5-1 OVC) at Murray State (4-6 | 2-4 OVC)
Saturday, November 16th, 2019 | Noon CT
Murray, KY | Stewart Stadium
Clarksville, TN – The biggest Austin Peay State University (APSU) football game of 2019 – for now – is appropriately the First Financial Battle of the Border game when the Governors meet Murray State in a noon, Saturday matchup at Stewart Stadium in Murray, Kentucky.
The Governors have become the hunted in the race for the 2019 OVC football championship, sitting atop the conference standings with all necessary tiebreakers in hand with two weeks remaining.
If Austin Peay State University wins its final two games it will clinch at least a share of its second OVC football title (joining the 1977 trophy) and the league’s automatic bid to the FCS Football Playoffs.
The Govs are tied for the league’s top spot with Southeast Missouri, which will travel to Eastern Illinois for a noon kickoff.
Saturday’s game, which is Austin Peay State University’s final regular-season road outing, is the OVC Game of the Week and will be broadcast digitally on ESPN3 with APSU alumnus Bob Belvin providing the play-by-play and Murray State alumnus Chip Hoback providing commentary.
About the Murray State Racers
The Murray State Racers will bring a three-game losing streak into Saturday’s contest, but none of those losses have been blowouts, with last week’s 17-7 loss to Tennessee Tech the largest margin of defeat in the string. Since posting a season-best 503 offensive yards in a win at Tennessee State (October 12th), Murray State has seen its offensive yardage fall during each game of the losing streak.
Murray State is the most pass dependent team in the OVC, with nearly three quarters of its offensive yardage coming from the passing game. However, the Racers have produced just 10 touchdowns through their passing offense in six league outings.
Quarterback Preston Rice leads the OVC with his 265.8 passing yards per game in OVC action and is third in pass completion percentage (60.8).
That despite ranking in the lower half of the OVC’s defensive yardage statistics: 7th in total defense, 5th in rush defense and 6th in pass defense. MSU boasts the OVC’s top tackler in linebacker Anthony Koclanakis, whose 10.3 tackles per game ranks 12th among FCS defenders.
Last Time Against Murray State
Quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall threw a pair of touchdown passes to DeAngelo Wilson and DJ Montgomery as Austin Peay State University pulled away from Murray State, 48-23. Oatsvall finished the contest 15-of-23 for 193 yards and four TDs. Wilson finished with a team-best seven catches for 99 yards.
Austin Peay State University, ranked 12th nationally in total defense (312.1 ypg) and 30th in total offense (436.1 ypg), is one of eight programs (out of 124 FCS programs) ranked in the FCS’s Top 30 in both core tenets. The other seven programs are North Dakota State (4th offense, 2nd defense), James Madison (8th & 4th), Wofford (17th & 25th), Hampton (20th & 27th), Princeton (23rd & 13th), Davidson (26th & 3rd) and Kennesaw State (27th & 8th).
Will the Govs prolific scoring pace continue against the stingy Racers defense? Austin Peay enters the Week 12 contest ranked No. 1 in both scoring offense (38.0 ppg) and total offense (444.7 ypg) in its six OVC outings. Meanwhile, Murray State has surrendered plenty of yardage, ranking seventh in total defense (391.0 ypg), but has not surrendered points as easily, ranking first in scoring defense (19.9 ppg).
The APSU Govs offensive line has done its job consistently this season, surrendering just six sacks in nine games. APSU’s front line is ranked No. 5 among FCS teams in sacks allowed (7 in 10 games). That protection has allowed APSU to post the FCS’ No. 44 ranked passing efficiency rating – a 140.62 rating that would eclipse the program record set in 1994 (139.07).
Kordell Jackson enters this week with seven interceptions in nine games and is No. 1 among FCS defenders in picks per game (0.70). No other OVC defender has more than three interceptions this season.
DeAngelo Wilson, who caught three touchdown passes against North Carolina Central in Week 1, is No. 13 among FCS receivers (tied for 2nd in the OVC) with nine touchdown receptions in 2019. Only four APSU receivers have caught more touchdowns in a season.
JaVaughn Craig assumed the full-time quarterback role in the midst of the Govs’ Week 2 game against Central Arkansas. He has quickly become one of the FCS’ top offensive threats, averaging 263.9 offensive yards per game – 31st among all FCS players.
Austin Peay State University remains among the nation’s Top 5 in sacks allowed, at a paltry 0.70 per game (7 sacks allowed in 10 games).
#TBT In Govs-Murray State History
Austin Peay Hall of Famer Harold “Red” Roberts went off for 20 catches, 252 yards and four touchdowns – each still an APSU record for a receiver – in a 1969 tussle between the Govs and Racers.
APSU Govs Online
Be sure to follow all the Austin Peay State University football action at LetsGoPeay.com and the official Facebook page of Austin Peay Athletics. In addition, live play-by-play coverage can be found on Twitter (@GovsFB) and PeayStats.com. Live coverage from this weekend will be provided via streaming (ESPN+).