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Clarksville, TN – Nine Governors will don the pads one final time at Governors Stadium as Austin Peay State University football team hosts Southeast Missouri, 4:00pm, Saturday, in the 2015 home finale.
The Governors will be closing out the second season at their refurbished home with a visit from Southeast Missouri—the last Ohio Valley Conference foe to grace the rebuilt digs.
Austin Peay Football plays last home game of the season Saturday against Southeast Missouri.
Austin Peay (0-9, 0-6 OVC) hopes to snap an eight-game home losing streak against the Redhawks (3-5, 2-2 OVC). The Govs last home win against Southeast Missouri came in the first meeting between the two as OVC opponents, in 1991.
Austin Peay’s defense—led by Roderick Owens‘ team-leading third interception—held the Tigers to 76 yards passing and 241 yards total last week, both lows against a Division I foe since meetings against Southeast Missouri in 2012 (36 yards passing) and 2011 (295 total yards).
Over the last six quarters—dating back to the second half against top-ranked Jacksonville State—Austin Peay has allowed 338 total yards and 20 total points.
But in that same span, Austin Peay’s offense has notched just one touchdown and 13 total points. While Kendall Morris bounced back from a pair of limited outings with an 18-carry, 76-yard performance on a mud-strewn field at Tennessee State, a still-youthful offense (66 percent of Austin Peay’s offensive starters through nine games have been freshmen or sophomores) has struggled to find its way through the air, breaking the century mark in passing yards just twice in the last six games.
Southeast Missouri has its share of passing struggles—the Redhawks rank eighth in the OVC with 156.1 passing yards per game—but can always target Paul McRoberts when things look dire. The 6-3, 197-pound senior from St. Louis is fifth in the conference in both receptions (6.0) and receiving yards (82.4) per game.
McRoberts branched out last weekend with a 69-yard punt return for touchdown against Tennessee Tech, one of two touchdowns secured by the Redhawks special teams unit. And junior transfer Tremane McCullough brought home OVC Newcomer of the Week honors after running roughshod to the tune of 138 yards against the Golden Eagles.
Scouting Southeast Missouri Redhawks
Freshman Dante Vandeven’s numbers aren’t eye-popping (942 yards, six touchdowns), but don’t let that fool you; the quarterback from Jackson, Missouri, has found plenty of ways to help the Redhawks this season, throwing for 221 yards and adding another 46 on the ground in last month’s win against Murray State and earning STATS FCS Freshman of the Week for the week of September 21st after leading three fourth-quarter touchdown drives in Southeast Missouri’s near-upset of 23rd-ranked Indiana State.
The Redhawks have playmakers all over the defense, including linebackers Roper Garrett (8.6 tackles/game) and Chad Meredith (1.25 TFL/game) and a pair of ballhawks in the secondary—Mike Ford (four interceptions) leads the OVC in picks, closely followed by teammate Eriq Moore with three. Moore intercepted a Trey Taylor pass in last season’s meeting between the two squads.
Last Time Out against Southeast Missouri
Damien Whitfield‘s pick-six provided the only bright spot for Austin Peay in a 42-7 loss at Cape Girardeau in 2014. McRoberts had six catches for 117 yards and two scores for Southeast Missouri, while Justin Roberson‘s 65 yard-rushing performance paced the Governors offense.
Southeast Missouri rolled to 531 yards total offense, limiting the Governors to 284 yards—the eighth and final time in 2014 that the Govs failed to crack 300 yards total offense.
Keep An Eye On
The Governors third-down defense may finally see a glimmer of hope; entering play ranked 118th nationally (allowing opponents to convert on 49.3 percent of third down attempts), Austin Peay will face a Southeast Missouri squad ranked 79th, converting on 35.0 percent of its attempts.
The Governors have allowed six blocked punts and eight total blocked kicks in 2015, both marks worst in the nation. The Redhawks have but one blocked kick, but it came in last weekend’s contest against Tennessee Tech and was returned for a touchdown.
Southeast Missouri punter Alex Knight is one of the best in the conference, leading the league with a 45.2 ypp average.
The passing game has a chance to break out against a Redhawk defense allowing 262.8 passing ypg.
An Austin Peay run defense that has been hurt by short fields and lengthy stays on the field at times in 2015 will face a rushing game that’s averaging 194.0 ypg, 28th-best nationally.
The Redhawks average turnover margin of 1.0 is tied for ninth-best in the nation; Southeast Missouri has just seven turnovers in 2015.
Vandeven may not be throwing it deep (9.81 ypc), but he’s throwing it efficiently; his 64.9 percent completion percentage is second in the conference and 16th in the nation.
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 www.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).
Radio • Governors Sports Network Play-by-Play: Brian Rives Analyst: Van Stokes
OVC Digital Network Play-by-Play: Elijah Wilson Analyst: Russell Jones
APSU football head coach Kirby Cannon and play-by-play voice Brian Rives break down Austin Peay’s Senior Day match-up with Southeast Missouri.
About APSU Sports Information
Austin Peay State University Sports Information provides the latest news and updates on the Athletic endeavors of the student-athletes at APSU. Under the direction of Brad Kirtley, the APSU SID’s office consists of Cody Bush, and Colby Wilson. To contact the APSU Sports Information office, contact, 931.221.7561.