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Fresh off an emotional win against Georgia Tech, the Hokies need to avoid a let down and take care of a very overmatched Austin Peay team this Saturday. Obviously, a lot of the fanbase still has nightmares about the JMU game but in reality, Austin Peay is just not on that level. They don’t have the in-state grudge in their favor and JMU could probably beat them by at least a few scores, if not more. This Austin Peay team lost to Western Kentucky 49-10 last Saturday. And, that’s not a good Western Kentucky team either.
The Governors have some pieces on offense that could allow them to hang around for the first quarter or so. We’ll discuss a few of those names below. They also bring back nine starters on defense this season but judging from last week, I don’t know how much that will help them at this level.
Overall, this Austin Peay team is a very average FCS team. In fact, they might not even be average. They’re only on their seventh year of scholarship football after going non-scholarship from 1997 to 2005 and they’ve struggled to put together many winning seasons in their 76 seasons of football.
But, in football you need to expect the unexpected so the Hokies need to take care of business on Saturday. In fact, I would love for Logan Thomas to not even have to play the 2nd half and just let Mark Leal take over. Our backups need reps and hopefully they get a full workload on Saturday.
QB Jake Ryan – Most notably, the Governors offense is led by Sixteen Candles character Jake Ryan. Ryan struggled in last weekend’s game, going just 2-10 passing for 11 yards and tossing one interception. Obviously, that’s not indicative of his talent as he is a three year starter for Austin Peay. Ryan has thrown for 3,202 yards in his career and 20 total touchdowns. The problem lies in Ryan’s health or lackthereof. He’s missed time in each of the last two seasons due to injuries. With the Hokies having a talented pass rush that may cause a problem this Saturday if his offensive line can’t protect him.
RB Wesley Kitts – The only playmaker the Governors have in the backfield is Kitts, who rushed for 104 yards on just 10 carries last Saturday. Kitts is a poor man’s version of Sam McGuffie (Michigan recruit who transferred to Rice). He’s quick and agile but he’s not a between the tackles type of back. Against Virginia Tech’s defense, I’m not too worried about Kitts out running anybody though. Just need to keep him from turning the corner.
RB/WR Terrence Oliver – Kitts is the starting running back but Oliver is their change of pace back. Much like J.C. Coleman, Oliver is only 5’7” and 162 pounds. He’s a slight of build guy that’s going to try to use his speed to beat you to the outside. According to AP’s official website, Oliver is actually listed as the starter at their slot receiver position. But, he carried the ball 12 times for 32 yards last weekend. Perhaps, some end-arounds should be expected on Saturday.
WR Devin Stark – The only Governor to record a catch last Saturday, Stark is Austin Peay’s best wide receiver. He recorded 53 catches for 627 yards a year ago and he’ll probably better those numbers this season. I don’t see the senior as an NFL caliber receiver but at 6’3” and 206 pounds, he certainly will look like one on the field.
C Jacob Langsten – The offensive line for Austin Peay actually has some decent size. Normally, with a lower tiered FCS team, you can see 6’2” 270 pound guys sneaking into the starting line. But, the entire starting offensive line will average about 6’4” and 290 pounds. That’s not bad. The key to this line will be the play of center Jacob Langsten, who moved to his new position after starting 15 games at both guard positions over the past two years. At 6’5” and 300 pounds, he has the size to matchup with our interior offensive line.
FS Antwaun Majors – Despite being a little undersized at 5’10” and 180 pounds, Majors is a tacking machine. He’s up to 203 career tackles and is in his 3rd season as a starter at free safety. He was also the only Governor player to record a sack last weekend against Western Kentucky.
LB Craig Salley – Another slightly undersized but savvy football player, Salley is a tenacious linebacker. He finished last weekend with six total tackles and one tackle for loss. He will give up some size, especially against our offense (and our quarterback) but he’s a solid tackler. Expect Salley to start at Austin Peay’s outside linebacker position.
DE Earnest Smith – The entire defensive line is in for a physical outing on Saturday. Smith goes 6’2” and 233 pounds and will be matched up against 6’6” 300 pound Vinston Painter. Despite that, Smith has recorded at least one tackle in every game he’s started.
S Steven Rich – New to the starting lineup this year, Rich is an intriguing safety prospect. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, he’s almost bigger than most of this team’s linebackers and defensive ends. But, he has good mobility and will man Austin Peay’s weakside safety position. The sophomore finished last Saturday’s game with six total tackles.
S Jeramy Ross – The Governors will play a lot of different bodies in the secondary and one of the primary reserves will be Jeramy Ross. Ross recorded Austin Peay’s lone takeaway last week, when he notched his first interception of the season. The senior doesn’t quite have the size or skill as Rich or Majors, but he’s experienced.
K Stephen Stansell – The good news for AP is that their specialists are pretty good. Stansell made a 44 yard field goal against Western Kentucky last weekend but missed from 48. He was nine of 15 last season with a long of 43. Stansell will also handle the kickoff duties. He had three kickoffs with 0 touchbacks, so expect our returners to get some work this weekend.
P Ben Campbell – Campbell took over the starting duties at punter during 2nd game last season and has improved since. He averaged close to 41 yards per punt last Saturday with a long of 49. Overall, he’s a solid punter and hopefully he gets a lot of work this Saturday.
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