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What to Know: Austin Peay vs. Furman

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

Saturday, November 30
NCAA Division I Football Championship – First Round

#16 Furman at #17 Austin Peay, 12:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
#13 Illinois State at #12 Southeast Missouri, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

#16 Furman Paladins (8-4, 6-2 Southern)

at #17 Austin Peay Governors (9-3, 7-1 OVC)

Saturday, November 30 • 12:00 p.m. CT

Fortera Stadium (8,000) • Clarksville, Tenn.

TV:……………………………………………………………. ESPN3
Live Stats:………………………………….. http://bit.ly/2qxLFlW

Series Record:……………………………………… First meeting

Last Meeting:…………………………………………………….. n/a

Clay Hendrix at Furman:………………………… 22-13 (3 yrs.)

Clay Hendrix Overall:……………………………………….. same

Mark Hudspeth at Austin Peay:…………………….. 9-3 (1 yr.)

Mark Hudspeth Overall:………………………. 104-62 (15 yrs.)

Furman Last Week:…………………… W, 64-7 vs. Point (Ga.)

Austin Peay Last Week:……….. W, 35-7 vs. Eastern Illinois

GAME NOTES: Furman, one of the top all-time teams in the history of the FCS in terms of playoff appearances (18) will travel to Clarksville, Tennessee to take on an Austin Peay team who will be making its first-ever playoff appearance.  The meeting is the first all-time between the teams. The winner will advance to play No. 4 national seed Sacramento State (also a first-time playoff team) next Saturday. Austin Peay is 13-3 at Fortera Stadium over the past three years.

SCOUTING FURMAN: After winning the 2018 Southern Conference football championship, Furman finished second in the race this season, losing to eventual champion Wofford in the next-to-last week of the regular season.  Despite that loss, the team finished the regular season by winning four of its final five contests. The team played a challenging schedule, including a pair of FBS opponents (Georgia State and Virginia Tech). Furman is appearing in its 18th FCS Playoffs, which ranks sixth all-time, six behind all-time leader Montana. The Paladins are 19-16 all-time in the playoffs, having played in a trio of National Championship Games including winning the 1988 title. Furman runs a multiple offense out of the flexbone and will look to establish the run, as they rank fifth nationally in rushing offense (275.8 yards/game). Devin Wynn leads the team with 1,121 rushing yards while quarterback Devin Grainger has accounted for 18 touchdowns this season (13 passing, 5 rushing). Furman also ranks second nationally in net punting (41.62 yards/punt), third in passing defense (159.3 yards/game) and punt return defense (2.1 yards/return), fourth in fewest penalties/game (3.83), sixth in fewest penalty yards/game (36.5), eighth in red zone offense (90.9%), ninth in tackles for loss allowed (4.5/game) and 10th in third down conversion percentage (47.0%).

SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY: Breaking the second-longest streak in FCS history between Championship, Austin Peay claimed its first OVC title since 1977 with a win over Eastern Illinois last week. The Govs earned the OVC’s automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs and in its first-ever appearance will host a home game. Overall the team’s nine wins in 2019 is the most in program history (five other APSU teams had won eight games). APSU has been the top defensive team in the OVC this season, ranking fifth nationally in rush defense (86.5 yards/game) and ninth in total defense (299.6 yards/game). The Govs held EIU to just 46 passing yards, the fewest by an opponent since the 1996 season. The team has suffered just three losses this season by a combined 16 points. After losing quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall to a season-ending injury in the first quarter of the second game of the season, the team did not miss a beat with senior JaVaughn Craig who has directed the team to a school record 5,158 yards of total offense this season (the first Govs team to ever break the 5,000-yard mark). Craig has accounted for 2,567 passing and 547 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns (22 passing, 8 rushing). Kordell Jackson has seven interceptions on the year (second nationally) and three defensive touchdowns. As a team APSU ranks fourth nationally in fumbles lost (3) and sacks allowed (0.67/game), ninth in defensive touchdowns (3), 13th in tackles for loss (7.9/game), 14th in passes intercepted (14), 18th in team passing efficiency defense (117.77), 19th in scoring offense (35.3 points/game), 20th in scoring defense (20.9 points/game), 24th in red zone offense (87.8%) and 26th in total offense (429.8 yards/game).

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