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Govs return home hoping to reverse fortunes

APSU Athletics Communications

By Stefan Nolet

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay returns home for the first time since early September when it hosts Tennessee State, 6 p.m., Saturday, at Fortera Stadium.

It will be Family Weekend for current students and parents, and game sponsor, Tennova Healthcare, will provide free pink water bottles to the first 5,000 fans in attendance in honor of breast cancer awareness.

The game is the Ohio Valley Conference Game of the Week, which will be broadcast on ESPN3. It is the second straight week Austin Peay will be featured on the Game of the Week.

The Governors (2-3, 0-2 OVC) will resume their quest to repeat as Sgt. York Trophy champions against the Tigers (2-1, 1-0 OVC). It will be the second matchup to decide the award this season, with UT Martin taking the first result against the Govs two weeks ago.

Recent bouts in the series suggest a highly-competitive contest, as three of the past four matchups have been decided by four points or fewer. Last season, the Govs took a 21-17 lead with 1:26 remaining in the game, and defensive end Jaison Williams sealed the result with a sack on the game’s final play.

TSU enters the game ranked second in the OVC in total offense (480.7), scoring offense (34.0) and passing offense (314.0). The Govs counter with the second-ranked pass defense in the conference, allowing just 186.9 yards per game passing.

“I think it’s a great matchup, obviously with the proximity,” head coach Will Healy said. “We know they’re a really good football team; that’s why we’re excited about the game. I think their talent level is exceptional. It’s a game for us the last two years that’s been very close. We were very fortunate to win a year ago.”

Notably

  • The Govs will resume their quest to repeat as Sgt. York Trophy champions when they face the Tigers. The Govs won their first Sgt. York Trophy in 2017 since the award’s inception in 2007.
  • The Govs are allowing just 186.9 yards per game through the air, which ranks second in the OVC and 30th in the country. They face a Tigers offense that has thrown for 314 yards per game through three games.
  • The defense forced two turnovers against Jacksonville State, marking the eighth straight game the Govs have forced a turnover, dating back to 2017. With a third-quarter interception by Malik Davis, the defense has recorded at least one interception in four consecutive contests. The Govs’ five interceptions ranks 24th in the country.
  • Austin Peay ranks 15th in the country in rushing, churning out 241.8 yards per game on the ground. Kentel Williams leads the way with 326 yards on just 27 carries for a 12.1 yards per carry average. Six players have rushed for at least 116 yards, and three have 224 yards or more.
  • Jeremiah Oatsvall set career highs in passing yards (245) and touchdowns (4) against Jacksonville State. He is the first Gov to throw four scores in a game since JaVaughn Craig tossed five against TSU in 2016.

By The Numbers

3 – DJ Montgomery and DeAngelo Wilson each have three touchdown receptions through five games. Montgomery and Kyran Moore led the Govs with three touchdown catches each in 12 total games last season.

298 – After posting nine total tackles to tie for the team lead at Jacksonville State, Gunnar Scholato now stands just two tackles shy of reaching 300 career tackles. He would be the 15th Gov to the 300-tackle milestone.

75 – Tre Nation’s 75-yard touchdown catch at Jacksonville State was the first touchdown reception of his career. It was also the longest pass completion of Oatsvall’s career.

42.6 – Devin Stuart leads the OVC and ranks 24th nationally, averaging 42.6 yards per punt. He has six of 50-plus yards, including a season-long 65-yarder against Jacksonville State.

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