Florence, AL – For the first time this season, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team faced a 14-0 deficit. The Governors responded by scoring 31 unanswered points and held on late for a 38-35 ASUN Conference victory against North Alabama, Saturday, at Braly Stadium.
After the Lions defense forced a punt, they took advantage of a short field with Noah Walters finding Takairee Kenebrew for a 31-yard touchdown and the 14-0 lead.
Austin Peay (6-3, 2-2 ASUN) battled back by scoring on five of its next six drives for 31 unanswered points. Four different APSU Governors scored touchdowns during the push. CJ Evans Jr. had a three-yard rush to close a 71-yard drive for APSU’s first score that also closed out the first quarter’s scoring.
Maddux Trujillo hit a 32-yard field goal to score with 7:58 left in the second quarter. A quick UNA three-and-out was followed by a Governors march 78 yards down the field with Jevon Jackson capping the drive with a three-yard run to give APSU the lead, 17-14.
Austin Peay State University closed out the half by blocking a punt and going 46 yards on the ensuing drive for a touchdown and a 24-14 halftime lead.
The Govs and Lions traded touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Austin Peay State University struck quickly on the other side of halftime courtesy Mike DiLiello‘s 69-yard touchdown throw to Kellen Stewart, giving APSU its largest lead, 31-14.
North Alabama responded at the end of the quarter and even narrowed the deficit to three points early in the fourth, with a touchdown early in the quarter. Powell scored late in the third quarter on a 32-yard run. Walters then led an 80-yard drive that he capped with a 23-yard run to get the Lions back within three points, 31-28.
Austin Peay State University battled back on its ensuing drive and drove 57 yards. Mike DiLiello found Drae McCray across the middle for a 13-yard touchdown to push the lead back to 10 points.
North Alabama tacked on a late score as Walters’ second touchdown throw hit with 17 seconds left and again narrowed the Austin Peay State University lead back to three points. The Lions secured the ensuing on-side kick but Shamari Simmons sealed the Austin Peay State University victory with an interception on the game’s final play.
DiLiello threw three touchdowns to three different receivers as part of a 20-for-32, 326-yard passing performance. McCray caught six of those passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Evans ran for 87 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries to pace the APSU run game.
Simmons’ 11-tackle day led Austin Peay State University’s defense. Antoine Williams had two tackles for loss and a sack as the Govs finished the game with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Powell led North Alabama with 207 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Walters completed 14-of-25 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Next Up For APSU Football
The Austin Peay State University football team continues their regular-season-ending three-game road trip with a noon, Saturday ASUN matchup at Kennesaw State.
APSU 0, UNA 7 – North Alabama scored on the game’s opening possession, going 75 yards in eight plays. After Demarcus Lacey’s opening 14-yard run, the Lions didn’t hit for more than six yards on their next six plays. On 4th-and-2 at the APSU 41-yard line, ShunDerrick Powell wove his way through the Govs linemen and broke free for the 41-yard touchdown run.
APSU 0, UNA 14 – After the Govs were held to a three-and-out deep in their own territory, a 38-yard punt put the ball at the UNA 47-yard line. Noah Walters quarterback keeper for 11 yards opened the drive, moving the ball into APSU territory. After gaining four yards on the next two plays, Noah Walters floated a ball to Takairee Kenebrew, who made the catch and tumbled into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.
APSU 7, UNA 14 – The Govs offense strung together its first scoring drive on its second possession of the day. DiLiello found McCray for a 17-yard completion to start the drive. CJ Evans then found an empty slot in the line and broke through for a 39-yard run that he nearly took to the end zone. After a dropped pass in the end zone, the Govs converted a 4th-and-1 at the UNA 6-yard line thanks to an Evans three-yard run. On the next play, Evans ran over the right end for the final three yards and a touchdown.
APSU 10, UNA 14 – Starting deep in their own territory, Austin Peay broke into North Alabama’s half of the field with DiLiello’s 62-yard completion to McCray. The Govs couldn’t build on the big play with two incompletions and a rush for two-yards on the next three plays. Maddux Trujillo easily converted the 32-yard field goal to narrow the deficit.
APSU 17, UNA 14 – The Govs defense forced a three-and-out midway through the second quarter and the Govs set up shop at their own 22-yard line. Two plays later, the ball was on the UNA 3-yard line. DiLiello found James Burns for a 40-yard pass completion in front of the Austin Peay bench. Next, Jevon Jackson gashed the Lions defense for a 35-yard run before he was pushed out at the three-yard line. APSU wasted no time scoring and Jackson finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown carry.
APSU 24, UNA 14 – A Jaden Lyles blocked punt gave the Govs a golden opportunity with the ball on the UNA 46-yard line with 2:53 left in the first half. Jevon Jackson’s 16-yard run got the drive moving. DiLiello hit a 13-yard pass to Tre Shackelford to move the ball inside the UNA 20-yard line. The Govs faced a 4th-and-4 on the UNA 11-yard line and DiLiello induced an offsides penalty to extend the drive. The penalty proved pivotal as DiLiello found Burns for a six-yard touchdown pass to close the drive.
APSU 31, UNA 14 – The Govs received the second half’s opening kickoff and wasted no time extending the lead. DiLiello found Kellen Stewart for a 69-yard reception, Stewart covering the final 31 yards after the catch, for the touchdown.
APSU 31, UNA 21 – Late in the third quarter, North Alabama turned to Powell for its third touchdown of the day. After a slow start to the drive – the Lions covered 37 yards in six plays – Powell burst through the line and scampered 32 yards for a touchdown, trimming the Govs lead to 10 points.
APSU 31, UNA 28 – The APSU Govs saw a 31-year field goal attempt missed and North Alabama took over at its own 20-yard line. The Lions needed nine plays to cover the 80 yards with Powell providing a 30-yard run early in the drive. Powell would convert a 3rd-and-13 with an 18-yard run, moving the ball inside the APSU 20-yard line. Two plays later Walters kept the ball and ran to the empty side of the field for a 23-yard touchdown run, narrowing the APSU lead to three points with 9:27 left.
APSU 38, UNA 28 – Austin Peay State University responded to the Lions charge on its next drive. A penalty on the kickoff put the Govs on their own 43-yard line to start the drive. The Govs converted a pivotal 3rd-and-6 when DiLiello found Stewart for a 12-yard completion. DiLiello found Josh DeCambre for an 11-yard completion to get inside the UNA 20-yard line. After a three-yard quarterback run, DiLiello hit McCray across the middle and the APSU Govs receiver bounced off a defender and ran into the end zone for the score.
APSU 38, UNA 35 – North Alabama capped the game’s scoring with an eight-play, 70-yard drive. After a 17-yard Walters-to-Warfield completion started the drive, the Lions nearly saw the drive snuffed out when a penalty put them in a 2nd-and-25 situation. But Walters found Corson Swan for an 18-yard completion to create a manageable 4th-an-3 opportunity. The Lions converted with Walters’ 32-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Lacey, and the Govs lead was trimmed back to three points.