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Austin Peay falls in final minute to Central Arkansas

APSU Athletics Communications

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In a game that simmered along for 56 minutes, Austin Peay and Central Arkansas brought the game to a rolling boil by trading touchdowns in the final four minutes, with the Governors falling by a 24-17 margin in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff, Saturday, at the Cramton Bowl.

The game’s first two touchdowns came in the opening moments of each half. Austin Peay got the game’s first score when freshman running back C.J. Evans dashed for a 75-yard score on the game’s opening play from scrimmage. After the teams traded field goals the rest of the half, Central Arkansas took the lead in the first minute of the second half on Kierr Crossley’s 34-yard run.

But Austin Peay got the ball with four minutes left and quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall mustered the offense to a seven-play, 60-yard scoring drive for a 17-16 lead. On the ensuing drive, Central Arkansas Breylin Smith responded by leading the Bears to a 6-play, 78-yard drive that needed just 1:06 to regain the lead and a two-point conversion set the final score.

Oatsvall completed 14-of-31 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. Evans, in his first game as a Governor, had 10 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. Junior linebacker Jack McDonald had eight tackles and an interception to pace the APSU defense.

Austin Peay takes the upcoming week off before returning to action with a Sept. 12 contest at Pittsburgh.

SCORING RECAP

GOVS 7, UCA 0: The Govs first play of 2020 was a beautiful sight as quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall lateraled to freshman C.J. Evans, who broke through the line and took his first career carry to the house – a 75-yard mad dash to give the Govs the early lead.

GOVS 10, UCA 0: Sophomore Jack McDonald’s interception and 20-yard return set the Govs up at their own 47-yard line to start the second quarter. Oatsvall found sophomore Geordon Pollard along the sideline for a highlight-worthy 37-yard reception. The drive bogged down inside the UCA 10-yard line, with sophomore Grant Paulette connecting a 28-yard field goal. 

GOVS 10, UCA 3: On the ensuing drive following the Govs field goal, Central Arkansas drove 63 yards in 12 plays but could not get inside the Govs’ 10-yard line. Hayden Ray hit on a 30-yard field goal to make it a one-possession game again.

GOVS 10, UCA 6: Central Arkansas opened the drive on the Govs 11-yard line after a bad snap on a punt attempt. The Govs defense stepped up, with UCA only mustering an incomplete pass, a 3-yard run and a run for no gain to limit the Bears to a 27-yard field goal.

UCA 13, GOVS 10: The Bears second-half opening drive was set up nearly at midfield when Chris Richmond returned the kickoff 39 yards to the UCA 44-yard line. The ensuing drive was simple, but effective – hand the ball to Kierr Crossley. His three carries covered 56 yards, including a 34-yard dash for the touchdown.  

UCA 16, GOVS 10: After a short Austin Peay punt, Central Arkansas started at the 50-yard line. After a pass completion and face mask penalty, the Bears seemed poised to make it a two-possession game with first down at the Govs 21-yard line. However, the Govs defense limited the Bears to a seven-yard gain after the first down and forced a pair of incompletions, leaving UCA a 32-yard field goal.

GOVS 17, UCA 16: After the Govs defense forced a 3-and-out, they set up shop on their own 40-yard line. Again it was first-play damage that made the difference. Oatsvall found wideout Jay Parker for a 43-yard completion. On 4th-and-4, the Govs induced a pass interference penalty in the end zone to get a fresh set of downs at the 2-yard line. Three plays later, Oatsvall tucked and ran from two yards out to give the Govs the go-ahead score.

UCA 24, GOVS 17: On the ensuing UCA drive, Smith completed five passes with three going for more than 10 yards. A 29-yard strike to Tyler Hudson setting the Bears up at the APSU 10-yard line. From there, Smith found Luj Winningham for the touchdown.

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