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HomeSportsAPSU Football battles Western Kentucky hard in 38-27 loss

APSU Football battles Western Kentucky hard in 38-27 loss

APSU FootballBowling Green, KY – Quarterback Mike Diliello threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another but the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team could not overcome a four-turnover day and dropped the 2022 college football season opener to FBS foe Western Kentucky, 38-27, Saturday at Houchens-Smith Field.  

Austin Peay (0-1) put together its best scoring performance against an FBS opponent since the 2017 season with its 27 points against WKU, which were its second-most against FBS competition in program history – trailing only the 33 points scored in 2010 against Middle Tennessee and matched in a 33-point outing against Central Florida in 2017.

The Governors showed their mettle against WKU, scoring on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter. Diliello’s 44-yard pass to Drae McCray with 1:35 left in the quarter gave Austin Peay State University a 10-7 after one frame.
Western Kentucky (1-0) scored the game’s next two touchdowns. The first came after an 8-play, 75-yard drive capped by Austin Reed’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Corley for a 14-10 lead. Austin Peay State University’s second turnover resulted in another quick Hilltoppers’ score, as Upton Stout picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards for a 21-10 lead.
Austin Peay State University would fight back to within a point thanks to scoring the next 10 points. Diliello capped an 11-play, 60-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to end the first half with APSU trailing 21-17. The Govs then scored the third quarter’s only points when Maddux Trujillo hit a career-long 49-yard field goal to narrow the deficit to a single point, 21-10, with 8:12 remaining in the third.
The Hilltoppers struck back with touchdowns on their next two drives. Reed marshaled the Hilltoppers down the field for a 7-play, 71-yard touchdown drive finishing with a 48-yard touchdown strike to Daewood Davis. WKU then forced a turnover on the ensuing APSU Governors drive and Reed needed just three plays to convert the takeaway into points for a 35-20 lead.
Austin Peay State University got a touchdown to close within a single possession again, but Western Kentucky scored a field goal in response to set the final score. The Governors fumbled the ball on the final kickoff return of the game and Western Kentucky ran out the clock to end the game.
Diliello led the charge with his two touchdown passes – both to wide receiver Drae McCray – and his one touchdown run as he finished with 187 total yards in his Governors’ debut. McCray finished the game with six receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Reed completed 20-of-34 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns to pace WKU. Three of his touchdown passes went Corley, who finished with 61 receiving yards on five receptions. David caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Scoring Summary

APSU 0, WKU 7 – After neither team’s opening drive resulted in points, Western Kentucky took advantage of Austin Peay State University’s first turnover and turned in a seven-play, 51-yard drive for a touchdown. Daewood David rushed for 15 yards on the first play of the drive and quarterback Austin Reed found Malachi Corley in the middle of the APSU Govs defense for a 16-yard touchdown play.

APSU 3, WKU 7 – On the ensuing Austin Peay State University drive the Govs marched down the field going 51 yards in 12 plays. Drae McCray’s 17-yard rush kept the drive alive on an early 3rd-and-4 and they converted on 3rd-and-2 later on the drive. But an intentional grounding after the APSU Govs got inside the WKU 20-yard line stalled the drive. Maddux Trujillo converted a 41-yard field goal for the Govs’ first points.

APSU 10, WKU 7 – The Govs defense held WKU to a three-and-out on the drive following the Trujillo field goal. Diliello opened the drive with a 20-yard rush then found Drae McCray on a slant route and the APSU Govs wideout made the turn and dashed up the field for a 44-yard touchdown reception and an Austin Peay State University lead.

APSU 10, WKU 14 – The lead would not survive the next WKU possession as the Hilltoppers went 75 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. WKU’s Reed connected on three consecutive passes of 28, 19, and 11 yards – the later pass again finding Malachi Corley – to cap the scoring drive.

APSU 10, WKU 21 – Western Kentucky added to its lead courtesy of its second interception of the game as a Diliello pass was intercepted by Upton Stout who returned the pick 34 yards for a touchdown.

APSU 17, WKU 21 – Austin Peay State University closed the half with another extended scoring drive. After a kickoff out of bounds set the APSU Govs up on their own 40-yard line, Diliello used an 11-play, 60-yard drive to score again. Josh Samuel provided a big 24-yard run to get the ball deep into WKU territory. On 4th-and-1, Diliello converted on a quarterback sneak to keep the drive alive and on the next play he threw a fade to Drae McCray deep in the end zone. McCray was interfered with on the play and the Govs got a new set of downs at the WKU two-yard line, Diliello converted with a one-yard burst to get APSU within four at the break.

APSU 20, WKU 21 – Austin Peay State University’s defense forced another three-and-out and Kam Thomas’ 33-yard punt return set the Govs up in WKU territory. APSU would get to the WKU 28-yard line before a holding penalty pushed them back. Diliello found James Burns for a six-yard reception to set up a long field goal try. Trujillo proved true again, converting the career-long 49-yard field goal.

APSU 20, WKU 28 – The Govs field goal was the lone scoring in the third quarter as WKU wrapped up a seven-play, 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter. The Hilltoppers drive puttered along with short plays until a pass interference penalty set them up at the APSU 25-yard line. After a rush for no gain, Reed found Corley for a third touchdown connection to extend the lead to eight points.

APSU 20, WKU 35 – Western Kentucky set up its second drive of the fourth quarter on its own 49-yard line after forcing an Austin Peay fumble. After an incompletion and a rush for three yards, Reed connected with Daewood Davis for a 48-yard touchdown reception, extending the lead to two possessions for the first time in the game.

APSU 27, WKU 35 – Austin Peay State University’s first interception of the day – by Shamari Simmons – saw the Govs start a drive at their own 10-yard line. After a seven-yard pass to start the drive, Diliello lateraled to Trey Goodman who found James Burns down the WKU sideline for a 39-yard completion and a personal foul on the tackle put the Govs on the WKU 24-yard line. Diliello converted on the next play, finding McCray down the middle for a 24-yard touchdown and the Govs were back within a possession.

APSU 27, WKU 38 – On the ensuing WKU drive, they drove 70 yards on 11 plays only to see the drive stall at the APSU Govs 5-yard line. On 3rd-and-10 at the APSU 27, a WKU pass went incomplete but interference was called placing the ball at the APSU 12-yard line. The Govs defense held the line at the right moment, denying the Hilltoppers a first down and forcing a 23-yard field goal.

Next Up For APSU Football

The Austin Peay State University football team returns to Clarksville to prepare for its home opener a Saturday 6:00pm contest against Presbyterian. It will be Faith & Family Night at Fortera Stadium with discounted group tickets available prior to the game.


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