Austin Peay (0-3) at Eastern Kentucky (1-1)
Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | 5:00pm CDT
Richmond, KY | Roy Kidd Stadium
Clarksville, TN – For Austin Peay State University football team, Saturday’s visit to Eastern Kentucky doesn’t just herald the beginning of Ohio Valley Conference play, although the 5:00pm (CT) contest will be the first OVC game on APSU’s 2015 slate.
It also signals something of a reprieve for Austin Peay after back-to-back contests against FBS schools, although in facing the Colonels, ranked 21st in the latest FCS Coaches poll and 18th by the media, the Governors see a foe interested not only in maintaining its ranking but improving its postseason chances and mounting a challenge to prohibitive OVC favorite Jacksonville State.
Austin Peay’s offensive woes continued last week at Vanderbilt, falling 47-7 on a day when its longest play from scrimmage was an 18-yard pass from Trey Taylor  to Wesley Thomas . The Governor’s ground game has yet to find any holes, averaging 62.0 yards per contest and failing to crack the century mark in any game, the first such streak since 2009.
Much of the rushing-game woes can be traced to a painfully young offensive line that has played two high-quality defenses in the last two weeks. The Vanderbilt game saw a young line become even younger, with sophomore Darryl Johnson  unavailable due to a family emergency. The offensive line was manned by a junior (Tyler Miles ), a redshirt freshman (Franklin Green ) and three true freshmen (Byron Glass , Ethan Self  and Jaylen Flye-Sadler ) for much of the contest against the Commodores.
A young Governors secondary grew measurably against the Commodores. Despite allowing a Vanderbilt-record 240 receiving yards to Trent Sherfield, freshman James Bond  posted his first career interception and junior college transfer Donovan Jackson  led the defense with eight tackles and a pass break-up.
Eastern Kentucky had the advantage of a bye last week, and is coming off a 35-0 loss at North Carolina State, September 12th. The Colonels, who played Indiana State in the opening round of the FCS playoffs last season, are looking to make it back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2007-08.
Scouting the Colonels
2014 OVC Offensive Player of the Year D’Shawn Mobley has been awfully quiet through two games, accounting for just 38 yards on 13 carries as Eastern Kentucky blew out Valparaiso in its opener before falling two weeks ago to North Carolina State. Expect a steady diet of Mobley, who carried 10 times for 55 yards last season against the Govs.
Defensively, Eastern Kentucky’s Stanley Absanon has been a standout in more ways than one. The senior defensive back from Auburndale, Florida, is tied for third on the team with eight tackles (one for loss), three pass break-ups and a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown against Valparaiso in the season opener. Absanon is also averaging 15.3 yards per punt return (with a long of 34 yards) and 27.2 yards per kick return (long of 62); all told, he leads the Colonels with 238 all-purpose yards.
Last Time Out Against Eastern Kentucky
Damien Whitfield  and Antonio Turner  had 10 tackles apiece but the Colonels, aided by a Hail Mary touchdown pass as the first-half clock ran out, also rushed for three touchdowns in a 31-0 win at Governors Stadium. The Governor offense could get little going against Eastern Kentucky, tallying just 190 yards total offense.
Keep An Eye On
- The Govs are 4-42 all-time against the Colonels and have lost three in a row, but two of their wins have come since 2009.
- After a respectable 7-of-15 on third down in the opener, Austin Peay is 5-of-31 since.
- Go deep: Austin Peay has finished last in the OVC in yards per completion in each of the last four seasons, and the Govs current 7.98 ypc mark is last in the conference and 119th nationally.
- Junior Roderick Owens  ranks second in the OVC and 80th nationally with 5.0 solo tackles per game.
- Austin Peay’s three-game stretch without cracking the 100-yard rushing barrier as a team is the first since Sept. 12-26, 2009 against Youngstown State, Illinois State and Eastern Illinois.
- The Governors are averaging just 3.0 yards per play on 194 plays through three contests, but take away APSU’s five longest plays from scrimmage and that number falls to 2.3 yards per play.
- Junior Damien Whitfield  needs one tackle for 100 in his career.
- The Governors are taking care of the ball, committing two turnovers in three games and sporting a plus-three turnover margin.
- Austin Peay’s road losing streak has reached 33 games, longest in the nation and three more than FBS Kansas (second-longest) and four ahead of VMI (second-most among FBS schools).
Radio • Governors Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Brian Rives
Analyst: Van Stokes
OVC Digital Network
Play-by-Play: Greg Stotelmyer
Analyst: Jim Tirey
Sideline Reporter: Keith Hardiman
Govs on the Web
Live Statistics: www.ekusports.com
Live Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com
APSU Govs Online
Check back at LetsGoPeay.com and on Austin Peay’s Official Athletics Facebook page often for up-to-date news about all Governor athletics, as well as the Governors football Twitter page (@AustinPeayFB). Live stats will be available during the game at LetsGoPeay.com, and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games can be viewed on www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com . Postgame video interviews and other videos from around APSU Athletics can be found on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/CultureofExcellence ).