Clarksville, TN – As the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team enters the final week of the 2019 regular season, to say the Governors have a chance to make history would be an understatement, as they have a chance to do not only one but several things the program has never accomplished in its 84-year history.
First, the Governors (8-3, 6-1 OVC) have a chance to win their ninth overall game of the season and break a tie with the 1948 (8-2), 1949 (8-2), 1964 (8-1-1), 1977 (8-3) and 2017 (8-4) APSU football teams for the most wins in a single season.
Secondly, and more importantly, the Govs have a chance to earn their first ever automatic bid into the NCAA Division I FCS Playoff tournament field, as the Ohio Valley Conference champion, even if Southeast Missouri also wins this Saturday versus Murray State to match APSU’s 7-1 overall OVC mark — as the Govs hold the tie breaker over the Redhawks with their 28-24 victory versus SEMO back on October 12th.
The Governors, who are the only current OVC football playing member that has never gotten an NCAA football postseason championship bid in its history came close to making it into the NCAA postseason just two years ago — as an at-large pick — after finishing runner-up in the OVC standings but were the final team out in the final selections by the NCAA Tournament Committee.
An OVC championship would also be the Governors second in its 47-year history of playing football in the OVC, joining the 1977 squad, who earned the Govs first OVC title 42 years ago.
A win Saturday would also give first-year head coach Mark Hudspeth the school single-season record for most wins by a head coach in their first year leading the APSU football program, breaking the tie he currently in with former Govs mentor James “Boots” Donnelly, who won eight games in his first season at the helm back in 1977.
A victory this week would also be the Govs fifth straight win, tying the 1997 and 1964 teams for the second longest win streak in a season in program history and trailing only the 1948 squad that holds the school record of seven straight wins.
All that is standing in the Govs way and this history-making weekend is a Eastern Illinois squad that will be entering this weekend’s contest with a 1-10 overall record –including a 1-6 mark in OVC play – but is arguably playing some of, if not, its best football of the season, having defeated Tennessee State two weeks ago, 49-38, and led Southeast Missouri (8-3) this past weekend at halftime, before coming up short in the second half to the Redhawks.
The announcement of the 24-team 2019 FCS playoff bracket will be held on Sunday, November 24th, starting at 11:30am (central time) with the Govs hopefully being one of the 10 automatic qualifiers, after a possible historic win Saturday, along with 14 at-large qualifiers.
The top eight teams will be seeded, and have a first-round bye, while the other 16 teams will bid to host a first-round game.
The FCS National Championship Game will be held on January 11th, 2020 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.