From APSU Sports Information
Fort Campbell, Ky –In front of a large crowd at Fryar Stadium, Austin Peay State University football team’s new offense came to the forefront in a 31-7 victory for the Red squad in the annual Red-and-White Game to conclude spring practice.
In a straight-forward scrimmage pitting primarily No. 1’s against No. 2’s, the Red squad took care of business on a warm spring day that left head coach Kirby Cannon pleased with the progress of his offense.
“I was happy with the performance more than anything else,” Cannon said. “There weren’t a lot of ugly plays. The guys had a nice pace; I feel like we’re on schedule.”
The Govs first-team offense looked sharp under Trey Taylor. The junior transfer from Central Arkansas, who redshirted last season after transferring in from Conway, hit 17 of 22 passes for 142 yards and two scores to solidify himself as the man to beat for the starting quarterback job entering the fall.
Taylor led the Red squad to its first scoring drive on the first half’s final possession. The 11-play, 70-yard drive saw him hit junior Darryl Clack for a 17-yard gain on fourth-and-six and thread a pass into Jacob Sexton on third-and-six to put the Red team inside the 10-yard line. Converted defensive back Justin Roberson, who finished the day with 40 yards on six carries, punched it in from a yard out to give the Red team a 7-0 lead at the break.
“He (Roberson) is an explosive kid,” Cannon said. “His combination of power and speed is very difficult. We struggle with him in every drill during the spring. He was a factor every day.”
Rashaan Coleman busted a 25-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and a Timarious Mitchell pass to Samuel Cooper for 13 yards put the Govs into field goal range, where Evan Toby booted a 35-yarder to make it 10-0.
After the White team went three-and-out, Taylor marched back onto the field and led a nine-play, 70 yard drive to the end zone. A fourth-and-four pass to Sexton picked up 11 yards and a first-down, followed by a 14-yard Roberson scamper and a 24-yard pass to Javier Booker that put the Red on the one-yard line. On first-and-goal, Taylor rolled left and found Sexton in the end zone for his first score of the day.
“He (Taylor) is very poised,” Cannon said. “He doesn’t get rattled, he can be corrected. Last year, once the quarterbacks were in the funk of non-performance, they were very difficult to get back on track. The best quarterbacks get over it and get ready to go again.”
After Johnathan Shuler picked off a Mickey Macius pass on the second play of the next White possession, Booker made the most of his opportunities on the next Red possession. He took the pitch on an option for 18 yards and caught Taylor’s second touchdown pass of the day, an 18-yarder to make it 24-0 to the Red side.
Booker later made it 31-0 on the first play of the final Red possession. After a turnover on downs, Taylor took off on a read option, lateraling to Booker, who took it 38 yards to the end zone.
Macius led the White squad to its lone scoring drive on the game’s final possession, marching 65 yards on nine plays before finding Jamaar Embry for a 13-yard score.
The Red team piled up more than 300 yards total offense in just seven series, with Booker tallying 121 yards total offense (65 receiving, 56 rushing) on just eight total touches. Converting to H-back from quarterback, Sexton looked strong with four catches for 35 yards. Jermer Braswell led the White Team receivers with three catches for 30 yards.
Shuler and Buddy Mitchell each recorded interceptions for the Red team defense. Corey Teague posted a sack for the Red squad, while Raymond Mulitalo earned three tackles and a sack for the White team.
“We’re in great shape,” Cannon said. “We had a great offseason. Part of our issues last year came from injuries and the best way to prevent injuries is to be in tremendous shape.”