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HomeSportsAPSU Football plays Eastern Illinois at Fortera Stadium Saturday with OVC Title...

APSU Football plays Eastern Illinois at Fortera Stadium Saturday with OVC Title in reach

#19 Austin Peay (8-3 | 6-1 OVC) vs. Eastern Illinois (1-10 | 1-6 OVC)

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 | 2:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Fortera Stadium

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – One game remains between the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team and a 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Football Championship with Eastern Illinois providing the opposition in a 2:00pm, Saturday, November 23rd matchup at Fortera Stadium.

Austin Peay State University Football hosts Eastern Illinois Saturday at Fortera Stadium. A win makes the Govenrors the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Football Champions. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay State University Football hosts Eastern Illinois Saturday at Fortera Stadium. A win makes the Govenrors the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Football Champions. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs are not only seeking their first OVC Championship since 1977, they also are searching for their first-ever appearance in the FCS Playoffs after narrowly missing out in 2017.

Austin Peay State University enters the regular season’s final weekend only needing a win against Eastern Illinois to win the 2019 OVC Football Championship.

A win also would assure the Govs receive the OVC’s automatic bid to the 2019 FCS Playoffs, granting APSU its first-ever FCS postseason appearance.

Governors fans will want to be in their seats before Saturday’s kickoff with Senior Day, Military Appreciation Day and GOMB Day all on tap. First, Austin Peay State University will recognize the 20 seniors on the season’s roster beginning 27 minutes prior to kickoff. Following that, the Governors Own Marching Band along with area high school bands, will take the field to perform its pregame show.

All of that leads up to a special national anthem presentation with soldiers from Fort Campbell unfurling the flag on the field before the national anthem, which itself will reach a crescendo with a flyover from Fort Campbell air units.

Saturday’s game, which is Austin Peay State University’s final regular-season outing, will be broadcast digitally on ESPN+ (subscription only).

About the Eastern Illinois Panthers

A 16-time FCS playoff participant, Eastern Illinois has faced a rebuild in 2019 under first year head coach Adam Cushing. The Panthers picked up their first win of the Cushing Era, November 9th at Tennessee State – coincidentally the Govs only OVC loss this season.

Austin Peay will again face a team that has relied on its passing game in OVC play. Eastern Illinois has amassed nearly 70 percent of its total yardage from its passing game (2nd only to Murray State’s 74 percent). Junior quarterback Harry Woodberry has paced the EIU offense with 204.6 yards per game and has 10 TDs versus seven interceptions this season.

However, in EIU’s lone win at TSU, the Panthers run game broke out for 265 yards and four TDs

Eastern Illinois does have an advantage against the Govs on pass defense, limiting opponents to an OVC best 179.7 yards per game. However, the Panthers rank eighth in defensive pass efficiency (137.0) with opponents passing for 16 TDs against six picks. Junior linebacker Dytarious Johnson leads the EIU defense with 6.4 tackles per game, 9.5 total tackles for loss and an OVC best four fumbles forced.

Last Time Against Eastern Illinois

Austin Peay State University outscored Eastern Illinois from the final moments of the first half through the end of the game, but could not overcome a fast start by the Panthers, falling 52-21, last season, at O’Brien Field. The Governors outscored the Panthers, 21-17, from the waning moments of the first half through the game’s final whistle, but faced a tough test, trailing 35-0.

APSU Notably

Another test against one of the OVC’s top defensive units awaits the APSU Governors, Saturday, when they host Eastern Illinois. All season long, Austin Peay State University has proven to be one of the league’s top offensive units, leading the league in scoring offense (38.6 ppg) and total offense (439.3 ypg). This week, the Govs face a Panthers team ranked No. 3 in total defense (326.3 ypg) but seventh in scoring defense (30.9 ppg).  

Austin Peay State University’s run defense has appropriately gathered plenty of attention this season, entering this week ranked No. 4 in the FCS while allowing opponents just 79.8 yards per game. The Govs have held seven opponents to fewer than 100 yards this season, including UT Martin (minus-25 yards) and Murray State (24 yards) in the last two weekends.

The Govs offensive line has done its job consistently this season, surrendering just eight sacks in 11 games. APSU’s front line is ranked No. 5 among FCS teams in sacks allowed (0.73 per game). That protection has allowed APSU to post the FCS’ No. 44 ranked passing efficiency rating – a 137.87 rating that would rank second to the record set in 1994 (139.07). 

Kordell Jackson enters this week with seven interceptions in nine games and is No. 2 among FCS defenders in picks per game (0.64). No other OVC defender has more than three interceptions this season.

Josephus Smith has been a terror behind the line of scrimmage this season, racking up 18.0 tackles for loss. He ranks ninth among FCS tacklers entering this week and needs just 1.5 TFL to break the APSU record.

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 ranking 31st among all FCS players in total offense with 256.5 yards per game that would break the APSU record.

DeAngelo Wilson became APSU’s single-season receiving yards record holder at Murray State, breaking a mark that had stood since 2006. He ranks No. 2 among all FCS receivers in total receiving yards this season, trailing Tennessee State’s Chris Rowland (1,289 yards).

APSU Govs Online

Be sure to follow all the Austin Peay State University football action at LetsGoPeay.com and the official Facebook page of APSU 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+).


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