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Govs take show on road for first time

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. —For the first time in 2019, Austin Peay will hit the road to take on Mercer in a 6 p.m. (CT) game in Macon, Ga.

Another non-conference foe on the fringes of the national conversation, Mercer is home for the first time in 2019 and receiving votes in both the STATS and AFCA Coaches Top-25 polls. A win would move the Govs to 2-1 on the season and give them a road win for the first time since Sept. 15, 2018.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast via ESPN+, as will all home and Ohio Valley Conference road games with the exception of the Nov. 2 game at Eastern Kentucky, which will be on ESPN3.

Scouting the Bears

The Bears throw the ball, and it often seems to find Tucker Cannon, who set the program record with 144 receiving yards last week at Presbyterian. His 237 yards through two games ranks seventh nationally.

Malique Fleming was one of three Bear defenders named preseason All-SoCON, and he’s delivered in the early going with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. And while Mercer has surrendered 745 yards over two games, it’s gone with just five touchdowns and a 50 percent red zone scoring rate for opposing offenses.

Last Time Out Against Mercer

The Govs and Bears met in three consecutive seasons in the middle part of the decade. The last matchup was a wild 41-34 slugfest at Fortera Stadium that saw Javaughn Craig rush for 84 yards and Kentel Williams score three touchdowns in an eventual loss.

Notably

  • Baniko Harley is a threat to go the distance every time he catches the ball. His 25.5 yards per catch leads the OVC and ranks eighth nationally entering the weekend.
  • The trip to Macon will be Austin Peay’s lone journey south of the state line for the 2019 regular season. It’s also the first time since 1999 that Austin Peay’s first road trip of the season will come in week three or later.
  • Dating back to last season, the Govs have held their last three opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground, with an average of 55.0 ypg during that time. The 32 rushing yards the Govs surrendered on Saturday was the lowest tally allowed by the Govs since Culver-Stockton needed 27 carries to gain 10 yards on Nov. 3, 2012.
  • Through two weeks, 10 FCS programs have yet to allow a sack; two of them are Austin Peay and Mercer. While this is a long-time staple of the Austin Peay ouevre–the Govs have finished in the top-10 nationally in sacks allowed the last two seasons–Mercer was a less-than-stellar 77th a year ago.
  • Kentel Williams needs fewer than 100 all-purpose yards to pass Mike Lewis (1985-87, ’89) for fifth all-time.
  • Both Juantarius Bryant and Seth Johnson look to make their 10th consecutive starts.
  • Central Arkansas was held to 7-of-17 on third-down conversions, APSU has allowed a 35.1 percent conversion rate (13-of-37) on third down in the season’s first two games. The Bears faced 3rd-and-long (more than six yards) on eight third-down chances, converting only once. The Govs have forced 3rd-and-long 24 times this season and have allowed only one conversion.

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