Austin Peay (3-5 | 3-2 OVC) vs. Murray State (5-0 | 5-0 OVC)
Saturday, April 3rd, 2021 | 2:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Fortera Stadium
Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team will host 13th-ranked Murray State in a Saturday showdown at Fortera Stadium with plenty of Ohio Valley Conference implications accompanying the 2:00pm kickoff.
Austin Peay State University Football takes on undefeated Murray State at Fortera Stadium, Saturday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)
For the APSU Govs, a win keeps their hopes for an OVC Championship repeat alive while also handing them back-to-back wins against ranked opponents for the first time in program history.
All Murray State has to play for is the chance to secure its first share of an OVC title since 2002.
Last week, the Govs hounded Jacksonville State into six turnovers and stymied the Gamecock passing game at every turn. The Racers have been as opportunistic all season as the Govs were last week, pulling in a league-high 14 turnovers with a league-best plus-8 turnover margin. Limiting mistakes will be huge for the Govs in this one, as the Racers have made opponents pay all season for miscues.
Austin Peay State University’s run defense has proven itself time and again as one of the best in the league—six times in the last 10 games, the Govs have held their opponent below 100 rushing yards. This week, the APSU Govs face a run-heavy Racer attack led by Damonta Witherspoon at 75.8 ypg, ranking second only to Jacksonville State in rush yards per game as a team (162.8 ypg).
Inside The Film Room
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About the Austin Peay State University Governors
Scotty Walden was hired as Austin Peay State University’s 21st head football coach in November 2020. Walden, who at age 31 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.
Austin Peay State University is set to play its third and final home game of the spring 2021 season when it hosts Murray State at Fortera Stadium. The Govs had just three games at Fortera Stadium this season, which marks the fewest games Austin Peay will play in Clarksville in a single season in program history.
After completing 16-of-30 passes for 265 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in his first two games, freshman quarterback Draylen Ellis has gone 67-127 for 778 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just two interceptions in his last three contests. Ellis was named both the OVC Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week in back-to-back weeks, he is the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.
Owning The OVC Accolades
In weeks that Austin Peay State University has played, the Govs have picked up 10 of the 23 OVC weekly awards. Draylen Ellis has been named Newcomer of the week three times and Offensive Player of the week twice. Brian Snead has been named Newcomer of the Week and Offensive Player of the week, while Jack McDonald, Elijah Culp, and Kam Ruffin have all been named Defensive Player of the week
Serving The Youth
Austin Peay State University’s Draylen Ellis and Elijah Culp became the first-ever freshmen teammates to be named the Ohio Valley Conference’s Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week in the same week.
About the Murray State Racers
With Murray State the final unbeaten team in the Ohio Valley Conference, this meeting will be the first in quite some time between the two teams with true OVC implications on the line. A win for the Racers can sew up a share of the OVC title, while an Austin Peay State University victory could keep their hopes for a repeat alive.
The league’s best pass rush will face its best pass protection unit on Saturday. The APSU Govs have lived in opposing backfields this season with 22 sacks, while Murray State–which has attempted a league-low 111 passes–has only been sacked twice in five games.
The Racers plus-eight turnover margin and 14 total forced turnovers make the Racers a tough out. Marcis Floyd is tied for the league lead with three picks and two forced fumbles and is second in the OVC with six pass break-ups.
The Racers have won nine Ohio Valley Conference titles during their history but seek their first since 2002. Just twice since that title have the Racers finished within a game of the top spot in the league; first-year head coach Dean Hood, who led Eastern Kentucky to OVC titles in 2008 and 2011, looks to capture the third title of his coaching career.
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Next Up For Austin Peay State University Football
After Saturday’s showdown with Murray State, the Austin Peay State University football team will play its regular-season finale when it travels to Eastern Illinois for a 1:00pm, April 11th contest at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Illinois.
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Football, APSU Fortera Stadium, APSU Men's Football, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Brian Snead, Charleston IL, Clarksville, Clarksville TN, Draylen Ellis, Eastern Illinois, Elijah Culp, ESPN, Governors, Govs, Jack McDonald, Kam Ruffin, Murray State, O'Brien Field, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Racers, Scotty Walden