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Govs picked to finish fourth in preseason poll

APSU Athletics Communications

By Stefan Nolet

APSU Athletics Communications

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Members of the media covering the OVC voted Austin Peay to finish fourth in the league’s preseason media poll released Friday, ahead of OVC Media Day, Monday.

With the fourth-place selection, the Govs have been voted to finish in the top half of the conference in the preseason media poll two years in a row after being picked to finish second in last year’s media poll.

Five-time reigning OVC champion Jacksonville State earned all 15 first-place votes and finished with 135 points, while last season’s runner up, Southeast Missouri, finished with 115 points. Eastern Kentucky was picked third with 99 points, while the Governors earned 84 points. Tennessee State (78), UT Martin (58), Murray State (55), Eastern Illinois (38) and Tennessee Tech (16) rounded out the rest of the voting.

The Govs enter the 2019 season with Mark Hudspeth in his first season at the helm of the football program. The veteran coach brings 14 years of head coaching experience at the NCAA levels, including seven seasons leading then-Division II North Alabama and another seven seasons as the head man at Louisiana-Lafayette. Hudspeth’s teams made the postseason in 10 of his 14 seasons.

Running back Kentel Williams returns for his final season after leading the FCS in yards per carry a season ago and earning third-team All-America recognition from the Associated Press. Junior quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall will join him in the backfield after setting the program record with 26 total touchdowns a season ago.

Defensively, 2018 Second-Team All-OVC selection Juantarius Bryant returns at safety after finishing third on the team with 65 tackles last season. Linebacker Pat Walker will look to take on a bigger role in his final season after finishing fourth for the Govs with 53 total tackles, including 4.0 for loss, last year.

The Govs kick off the 2019 campaign at home, Thursday, August 29 against North Carolina Central in the first Thursday home game for the program since taking on then-No. 4 Eastern Illinois in October of 2013. For the first time since 2003, the Govs will host six home contests, highlighted by games against the OVC’s two FCS Playoff participants last season – Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri – as the first two home conference games, slated for September 28 and October 12, respectively.

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