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Govs have shot at returning to .500 in OVC

Robert Smith/APSU Athletics Communications

By Stefan Nolet

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – For the third time this season, Austin Peay will be featured on the OVC Game of the Week when it hosts Eastern Kentucky at Fortera Stadium Saturday at 4 p.m.

As the OVC Game of the Week, the contest between the Governors (4-4, 2-3 OVC) and the Colonels (4-4, 3-2 OVC) will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN3.

The Govs played arguably their most complete game of the season, defeating Tennessee Tech, 41-10, during Homecoming last Saturday. With the victory, the Govs extended their current home winning streak to five games, which is the first five-game win streak for the program since 1980-81. With a win against EKU, the Govs will have the longest home winning streak since the team won eight straight at home from 1964-65.

Quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall played arguably his best game as a Governor against TTU, tying an APSU single-game record by tossing five touchdown passes. He completed 15-of-19 passes for a career-high 279 yards.

The Govs have struck an incredible balance offensively in the past two games, as they rushed for 287 yards and passed for 279 against TTU, while passing for 229 and rushing for 226 against Southeast Missouri, Oct. 13.

The offense faces a stiff test against an opportunistic Colonels defense that ranks fourth in the country with 21 turnovers forced.

Defensively, the Govs looked stout against TTU, limiting the Golden Eagles to just 10 points, the second-fewest allowed by the Govs this season. They held TTU’s Bailey Fisher – a candidate for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award as the nation’s top freshman – to just 9-of-24 passing for 97 yards.

The Govs defense will have to contend with the one-two punch of LJ Scott and Daryl McClesky at running back. The duo has combined for 1,151 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns this season.

EKU enters the game off a victory as well, reeling off 21 unanswered points in the second half against Eastern Illinois to turn a 17-10 halftime deficit into a 31-17 lead. The Colonels would hold on for a 31-23 triumph.

“Our work’s cut out for us this week: I know how talented EKU is,” head coach Will Healy said. “They got a big win last week, so we’re both 4-4 and trying to get over the .500 mark. I know they’ll be ready to play, and it will be a great test for us. I’m excited about it. You get a chance to watch them on film, I think they’re loaded everywhere.”

Notably

  • With 287 yards rushing against TTU, the Govs eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the fifth time this season. They are averaging 247.5 yards per game on the ground, which ranks first in the OVC and 14th in the FCS. Prince Momodu’s 8-yard plunge against TTU was the Govs’ 20th rushing touchdown on the season, which is tied for 16th in the FCS.
  • In addition to paving the way for the top rushing attack in the OVC, the offensive line has done yeoman’s work keeping the quarterback upright. The unit has allowed just eight sacks in eight games, which ranks first in the OVC and 12th in the FCS
  • Oatsvall set a career high and tied a program record by throwing five touchdown passes against TTU. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns so far this season, which ranks fourth in the Austin Peay record book. For his career, Oatsvall has thrown 21 touchdown passes, which ranks fifth all-time at APSU.
  • The Govs rank second in the OVC, allowing only 218.5 yards per game through the air in the pass-happy conference. The Govs broke up six passes against TTU – tied for the most in a game this season – led by Trent Taylor with two.
  • Defensive tackle Corey Brown Sr. has recorded at least 0.5 tackle for loss in each of the past six games, including 1.0 for loss in five of the six. His 5.5 tackles for loss this year – tied for third on the team – eclipses his season total of 4.0 from 2017, accumulated in 12 games.

By The Numbers

17.09 – Oatsvall ranks first in the OVC and second in the FCS, averaging 17.09 yards per completion. His 9.36 yards per pass attempt ranks first in the OVC and third nationally.

9.25 – Kentel Williams ranks first in the nation, averaging 9.25 yards per carry. He has 601 yards and six touchdowns on 65 carries. He ranks third nationally with 170.8 all-purpose yards per game.

9.6 – Gunnar Scholato has notched 77 total tackles this season, for 9.6 tackles per game, which ranks third in the OVC and 19th nationally. He has four double-digit tackle games in 2018.

258 – The Governors have scored 258 points through their first eight games, averaging 32.2 points per game. Conversely, EKU has allowed 258 points defensively through eight games.

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