Instant Peay Play: Governors can control their own fate over the next three weeks
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU)’s football team returned to NCAA Football Championship Division (FCS) play September 8th at Fortera Stadium — after a showdown on the road versus national-ranked powerhouse Georgia — and came away with a 24-0 shutout victory over Presbyterian to gain some momentum heading into a key three-game road swing.
APSU Football’s next three games are on the road against Morehead Sate, UT Martin and Jacksonville State.
The Governors (1-1), who were picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll, will open their three-game road set at Morehead State on September 15th – in its last non-conference matchup of the year – followed by conference tilts at Tennessee-Martin (September 22nd) and Jacksonville State (September 29th).
While all games from here on out are key for the Govs if they are to earn their first ever spot in a NCAA post-season tournament field the next three are especially important for that goal.
First, the Morehead State (1-1) game could be a trap game for the Govs as they defeated the Eagles by 56 points at home last season, 69-13, but could be overlooking the game with OVC contests versus Tennessee-Martin and Jacksonville State right around the corner.
Although the Eagles look to be an improved squad this season having put up 23 points in a loss to fellow OVC member Eastern Kentucky to open the season, if the Govs go and play the way they are capable of and not take the game and opponent for granted it should be little to no problem to come back with a win.
That sets up showdowns with the Skyhawks and Gamecocks, who were sandwiched around the Govs in the OVC preseason poll in being picked to finish third and first in the poll respectively.
While the Skyhawks enter week three of the season with a 0-2 record — and face undefeated Chattanooga this week in Martin, TN — they will be a dangerous matchup for the Govs with both losses so far this season coming to NCAA Football Bowl Division (FBS) teams in Missouri and Middle Tennessee – with the Skyhawks scoring 37 points versus the Blue Raiders.
The three-game road swing culminates with a showdown with the four-time defending OVC champion Jacksonville State (1-1), who have won their last 32 OVC games and handed the Govs their only FCS loss during the 2017 season, a 34-14 final in Clarksville.
While all three of these games are important if Austin Peay is to put together the type of resume the NCAA Championship committee is looking to get into the postseason, the first two OVC games will go a long way in either setting up the Govs for an OVC title run or a dogfight for a postseason bid as an at-large team.
The Govs would be happy either way in making it into the postseason, but an OVC championship and the automatic bid into the NCAA Championship Tournament field that comes with it would make things a lot easier.