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HomeSportsAPSU Football set for home opener against Morehead State, Saturday

APSU Football set for home opener against Morehead State, Saturday

Austin Peay (1-1) vs. Morehead State (1-1)
Saturday, September 18th, 2021 | 2:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Fortera Stadium

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – After a pair of games on the road to start the season, No. 19-ranked Austin Peay State University football will play its home opener when it hosts Morehead State for a 2:00pm, Saturday tilt at Fortera Stadium.

The Governors opened the season with a 30-20 win on the road at No. 18 Chattanooga, before falling to No. 20-ranked Ole Miss, 54-17, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi last Saturday. Second-year head coach Scotty Walden has led the Govs to three straight wins against FCS opponents, with all three of those victories against ranked foes.

With 29 wins since 2017, the Govs are five shy of setting the program record for wins in a five-season span. That record is 33 victories, set twice, most recently 40 years ago (1976-80 and 1977-81).

Gameday at Austin Peay State University will have a more familiar feel this season with the return of Tailgate Alley, Stache Street, and the Gov Walk. More information on everything happening on game day can be found in the Gameday Information release at the top of this page.

Group, season and individual tickets are still on sale. Contact the ticket office at 931.221.PEAY (7329) or click the “BUY TICKETS” link at the top of this story to purchase yours today!

Inside The Film Room

Check out the Governors official YouTube feed each week for highlights, previews, and more!



APSU Notably

Hello Old Friend

This Saturday, Austin Peay and Morehead State renew a series that began in 1962. The Govs and Eagles are old foes in both the Ohio Valley Conference (1963-96) and Pioneer Football League (2001-2005).

In their 33 OVC meetings, APSU claimed a narrow 17-16 advantage thanks to a 1989 forfeit by MSU. However, the Eagles won all five PFL games in a stretch that saw them win 10 straight from 1995-05. APSU has bounced back with the last three wins.

Last Time Out

Austin Peay State University’s offense posted 374 yards against No. 20 Ole Miss but the host Rebels took advantage of two APSU fumbles deep in its own territory and used 335 rushing yards to post a 54-17 victory, September 11th. Baniko Harley hauled in a 30-yard touchdown and CJ Evans Jr. ran for a 40-yard score in the second half.

Not The Favorite, Unless They Are

The Ohio Valley Conference’s Predicted Order of Finish tapped Austin Peay to finish tied for second during the league’s media days in July. APSU was picked behind preseason favorite Murray State and tied with co-second place Southeast Missouri – both teams the Govs defeated in the spring.

However, the two preseason FCS polls had the Governors listed among their Top 25, something no other OVC team could claim.

Draylen Ellis, Kordell Jackson Swwp OVC Preseason Awards

Nickelback Kordell Jackson and quarterback Draylen Ellis swept the Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year Awards. Jackson, a back-to-back Consensus All-American received the defensive nod for a second-straight year. Ellis, the league’s Newcomer of the Year, picks up the offensive nod after wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson won the Offensive Player of the Year award last season.

Learning Curve

After completing 16-for-30 passes for 265 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in last spring’s first two games, freshman quarterback Draylen Ellis has gone 112-of-195 for 1,331 yards, 17 touchdowns, with just four interceptions in his next five contests (139.38 passer rating).

Ellis earned OVC Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week in back-to-back weeks (March 16 and 23) and capped his rookie campaign by becoming the second Austin Peay player to win the league’s Newcomer of the Year award.

Owning the OVC Accolades

Johnathon Edwards kept alive a recent tradition when he was named the OVC Defensive Player of the Week, Monday. Since the start of the Walden Era, Austin Peay has won or shared 13 of the 32 possible OVC weekly awards.

Jack McDonald, A Scholar, and a Gentleman

Besides being the APSU Govs leading tackler the past two seasons, linebacker Jack McDonald also is well-accomplished off the field. In June, he was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Teams.

In July, the American Football Coaches Association listed him as a nominee for its 2021 AFCA Allstate Good Works Team. He wrapped up the preseason with a nomination for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy in August.

Scotty Walden’s World

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, took 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.

About the Morehead State Eagles

This is the 47th meeting all-time in a series that Morehead State leads 27-19, however, Austin Peay is on a three-game winning streak in the series dating back to 2006.

Morehead State was picked to finish seventh in the Pioneer Football League’s Preseason Poll. The Eagles finished tied for second in the spring PFL race, finishing behind league champion Davidson and tied with San Diego and Valparaiso.

Quarterback Mark Pappas, wide receiver BJ Byrd and offensive lineman Cam Marriott were each named to the Preseason All-PFL team. Byrd was listed twice as he serves as an all-purpose back for the Eagles, entering Week 3 averaging 123.0 all-purpose yards per game (20th in the FCS). Pappas is 5th in the FCS with five touchdown passes, all thrown in the Eagles last outing against Point University (Ga.).

The Eagles surrendered 404 yards per game in the spring, including 232 rushing yards per game. That latter number placed MSU in the FCS’ bottom 10 in rushing defense.

However, they did force 19 turnovers and ranked 5th in takeaways, 1st in interceptions (14) and 7th in turnover margin (+1.14) among FCS programs.

Defensive lineman Vaughn Taylor Jr. is the biggest threat in the Morehead State defensive unit. He enters Week 3 ranked 17th in the FCS with 2.0 tackles for loss per game and has 38.0 career tackles for loss, including 13.5 sacks, in four seasons at MSU after transferring from Kansas.


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Next Up For APSU Football

It’s back to the road for the Austin Peay State University football team and a contest against another former Ohio Valley Conference foe when it meets Eastern Kentucky in a 2:00pm CT, Saturday, September 25th contest. The Govs have won their last two trips to Richmond, Kentucky, both by a single touchdown.


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