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Hudspeth, Jackson named finalists for national awards

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

CHICAGO — Austin Peay junior cornerback Kordell Jackson and Govs football coach Mark Hudspeth are finalists for two of STATS FCS legacy awards, honoring national players and coach of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.

Jackson is one of 26 finalists for the 25th Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the nation’s most dominant defensive player. The Birmingham, Alabama native certainly qualifies, leading the Ohio Valley Conference with seven interceptions and notching three defensive touchdowns on the season—two pick-sixes against Mercer and then a fumble return against Murray State. He had another multi-interception game against Jacksonville State and in total defended nine passes on the season, ninth-most in the OVC.

Austin Peay’s nickel corner’s versatility has been a key part of what has made the defense so disruptive this season—in addition to his 34 tackles, he has 6.0 tackles for loss and two sacks, including a strip-sack against Mercer.

Hudspeth’s merits for the 33rd Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award are obvious—he’s led the Govs to both their first league title since 1977 and their first-ever FCS Playoff berth. Under Hudspeth and his staff, the Govs rank among the nation’s best in run defense (86.5 ypg, fifth), sacks allowed (0.67 allowed, fourth) and total defense (299.6 ypg, ninth).

For the first time in program history, the Govs welcomed three ranked foes to Fortera Stadium—under Hudspeth, they went 2-1 in those games, defeating 11th-ranked Jacksonville State (52-33, Sept. 28) and 20th-ranked Southeast Missouri (28-24, Oct. 12) and will get another shot this weekend when No. 16 Furman visits Fortera Stadium in the opening round of the 2019 FCS Playoffs.

Hudspeth is the only OVC coach on the shortlist for the Eddie Robinson Award, while Jackson is joined by Eastern Kentucky’s Aaron Patrick and Southeast Missouri’s Zach Hall as finalists for the Buchanan Award. All four awards and the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be celebrated at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation, scheduled for Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the national championship game.

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