#15/14 Austin Peay at #5/5 Montana State
Friday, December 13th, 2019 | 7:00pm CT
Bozeman, MT | Bobcat Stadium | TV: ESPN3
Clarksville, TN – Game 14. Elite Eight. Quarterfinalists. All firsts that describe the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team as it continues a run that outsiders have deemed indescribable.
Nonetheless, the Governors travel to No. 5 seed Montana State for a 7:00pm (CT), Friday matchup in the FCS Playoffs with the winner earning a ticket to the national semifinals.
Now riding a program-record seven-game win streak, Austin Peay State University’s postseason run has seen it dispatch Furman and Sacramento State while scoring 42 points in each outing.
The Governors have used a knockout punch in each game, using a 28-point third quarter to vanquish the Paladins and a 21-point first quarter to eradicate the Hornets. Now they turn their attention to the Bobcats, who are making their 10th FCS Playoff appearance and opened their postseason with an impressive Round 2 victory against Albany
ESPN3 will broadcast Friday’s game along with the other three quarterfinal FCS Playoff contests (How to Watch). Clarksville-area Governors fans can get together at Buffalo Wild Wings off Wilma Rudolph Boulevard. or Strawberry Alley Ale Works in Downtown Clarksville to watch the game and take advantage of special offers in store and through the Let’s Go Peay app.
About the Montana State Bobcats
Montana State finished third in the Big Sky regular-season race, but earned the No. 5 seed in the FCS championship bracket. Weber State, which earned the league’s automatic bid, was the No. 3 seed. Sacramento State (No. 4) and Montana (No. 6) also received national seeds.
The Bobcats boast the Big Sky’s No. 1 rushing attack (264.9 ypg), but without an individual runner ranked among the league’s Top 10. Senior running back Logan Jones is MSU’s top runner with 67.2 yards per game in 12 outings. Senior wide receiver Travis Jonsen paced the Bobcats with 85 rushing yards in their playoff contest against Albany last weekend.
A week after facing the FCS’ No. 10 ranked team in tackles for loss, the Govs run in to the No. 18 team this weekend, Montana State averaging 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game. Senior defensive end Bryce Sterk leads that effort with 19 tackles for loss (15 sacks) and is one of three Bobcats defenders with 10-plus TFLs in 2019.
Last Time Against Montana State
This is the first meeting between the Govs and Bobcats. Austin Peay State University is making its first appearance in the playoffs. Montana State is in its 10th NCAA playoff run, winning the 1984 championship.
Keep An Eye On
The list of firsts for Austin Peay State University keeps growing. First league title since 1977, first-ever appearance in the FCS Playoffs, first victory in the FCS Playoffs and now first road FCS Playoff win after last Saturday’s win at Sacramento State.
Two of the FCS’ best offensive teams will square off in Friday’s quarterfinal contest. However, the matchup to watch will pit Bobcats and their No. 8-ranked rushing offense (264.9 ypg) against the APSU Govs No. 7-ranked rushing defense (91.6 ypg). It will be the second playoff foe the Govs have faced ranked in the Top 10 in rushing offense after facing Furman, which was ranked No. 5, in the opening round and held the Paladins to 145 rushing yards – 130 below their season average.
The Govs offensive line has done its job consistently this season, surrendering just nine sacks in 14 games. APSU’s front line is ranked No. 3 among FCS teams in sacks allowed (0.64 per game). That protection has allowed APSU to post the FCS’s No. 31 ranked passing efficiency rating – a 143.45 mark which would break the APSU record set in 1994 (139.07).
When the Govs have needed a big play this season it has been DeAngelo Wilson that has delivered. Of his team-leading 83 receptions this season, 29 have gone for 25 yards or more and 11 of those have seen him romp for 40 yards. In addition, 63 of those catches have seen him secure either a first down or a touchdown – 28 of those coming on third down this season.
Austin Peay State University entered the postseason ranked in both the STATS and FCS Coaches polls. They ended the regular season ranked in six consecutive weeks, and five consecutive. Prior to this season, the Govs had been ranked in a poll six times… all time.
For the fourth consecutive season, and fifth time in program history, APSU has surpassed 4,000 offensive yards. The Govs program-record 6,091 yards this season broke the previous program record of 4,646 yards set in 2017.
APSU has allowed a 32.6 percent third-down conversion rate (70-of-215) this season, ranking 13th in the FCS. The Govs have held opponents to 27-of-123 (22.0 percent) on 3rd-and-long (7-plus yards) opportunities this season.
Appropriately, Austin Peay State University’s run defense has gathered plenty of attention this season, entering this week ranked No. 7 in the FCS while allowing opponents just 91.6 yards per game. The Govs have held eight opponents, including second-round foe Sacramento State, to fewer than 100 yards this season. Austin Peay State University also ranks 28th in the FCS with 7.3 tackles for loss per game (102 TFLs for 411 yards lost).
Up Next for APSU Football
North Dakota State would host in Bozeman if it won that contest, while an Illinois State victory would result in the semifinal host being determined by the FCS Championship Selection Committee.
APSU Govs Online
Be sure to follow all the Austin PeayState 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 NCAA.com. Live coverage from this weekend will be provided via streaming (ESPN3).