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Austin Peay State University Football takes on Tennessee State at Fortera Stadium, Saturday


Austin Peay (0-4 | 0-1 OVC) vs. Tennessee State (0-0 | 0-0 OVC)

Saturday, February 28th, 2021 | 2:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Fortera Stadium | TV: ESPN+

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – It’s been 456 days since the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team walked off the field at Fortera Staduim for the final time in 2019 with a NCAA Playoff victory against Furman.

At 2:00pm, Sunday the Governors will return home when they host Tennessee State in an Ohio Valley Conference contest.

Austin Peay State University Football hosts Tennessee State, Saturday. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay State University has played four games in this extended, disjointed 2020 season, all on the road and each helping another team start its season.

While the Governors will be facing another team taking the field for the first time – Tennessee State – they will do so from the comfort of their own locker room for the first time.

There were plenty of things to like about the Governors Spring 2021 opener at Tennessee Tech, last Sunday. The offense under OVC Newcomer of the Year and true freshman Draylen Ellis out-gained Tennessee Tech. The defense more than held up its end of the bargain with a record seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss that was the most by a Governors team since the 2000 season. But all losses reveal areas of improvement and Austin Peay State University will look to trim its turnover and penalty counts against Tennessee State.

Tennessee State opens its Spring 2021 season in Clarksville after seeing its home opener against Jacksonville State postponed due to the winter storms that battered Middle Tennessee last week. The Tigers offense lost eight starters from last season’s team, including quarterback Cameron Rosendahl, wide receivers Chris Rowland and Steven Newbold as well as three offensive linemen.

Inside The Film Room

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At The Kickoff

Walden’s World
Scotty Walden was hired as Austin Peay State University’s 21st head football coach in November 2020. Walden, who at age 30 is the youngest head coach at the Division I level, takes over in Clarksville after serving as the head coach at Southern Miss to start the 2020 season. Considered one of the brightest young offensive minds in collegiate football, the American Football Coaches Association tabbed Walden as a Top 35 coach under 35 years of age in 2019.

Another Opener
In this most unusual of football seasons, Austin Peay State University will be facing an opponent opening its 2020-21 campaign for the fifth time when they take on Tennessee State. It’s a vast difference from the original 2020 schedule when APSU was slated to be the homecoming opponent for five opponents. 

Long Road Home
Sunday against Tennessee State will be the first time in 463 days that Austin Peay State University has taken the field at Fortera Stadium. The last time the Governors played at home was when they defeated Furman in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Football Championship, November 30th, 2019.



Welcome To The Show
Freshman Draylen Ellis passed for a touchdown and ran for another in his debut as Austin Peay’s starting quarterback at Tennessee Tech. Ellis accounted for 214 total offensive yards, completing 11 passes for 165 yards and running for 49 yards on his way to being named the Ohio Valley Conference’s Newcomer of the Week in his first week in the league.

Receiver Rich
The Governors return a wealth of talent at wide receiver in the spring of 2021, led by All-American DeAngelo Wilson. Wilson set the program record in receptions (89), receiving yards (1,564), and touchdowns (15) in 2019. The Govs also return do-it-all receiver Baniko Harley — who had 1,019 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns in 2019 — and a pair of 6-3 targets in Gorel Soumare and Geordon Pollard.

Preseason Positives
Seven Austin Peay athletes were recognized on the Preseason All-OVC teams released in July. Nickel back Kordell Jackson, the league’s 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, also was its preseason defensive pick. Wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson, who amassed a APSU record 1,564 receiving yards, was its Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

About the Tennessee State Tigers

Two weeks in, two York Trophy opponents have faced the Govs in the 2020-21 season; Austin Peay State University has won or shared the trophy the last three seasons, while the Tennessee State Tigers have won or shared eight trophies, including the last two with the Governors.

Gone are Tennessee State’s leading rusher, leading quarterback and top two receivers from the 2019 team. Shawn McColley is the leading returning rusher, and likely to be pushed by Memphis transfer Devon Starling. Marshall transfer Isaiah Green is a name to watch under center, as is Clarksville native Heath Williams.

The Tennessee State secondary, led by Nick Harper Jr., Josh Green and Larry Wilhoite, will present a new look whoever is under center for the APSU Governors; that trio combined for six of Tennessee State’s eight team interceptions from 2019, including Green’s pick in the Tennessee State end zone in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 2019 upset of the soon-to-be-champion Governors.

For the fifth game in a row, Austin Peay State University will serve as the season opener for its opponent, starting last fall against Central Arkansas and continuing this week against Tennessee State. This will be the first time the Govs serve as Tennnessee State’s season-opening opponent in series history.

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