APSU football opened their season on the road Thursday night, traveling to Nippert Stadium to square off against the Cincinnati Bearcats, falling short of an upset, 26-14.
APSU entered the game predicted to fall by at least 45 points. However, the game was decided in the final minutes.
The Govs out-gained Cincinnati in yards 313-248. This is the first time the Govs recorded more yard then their oppositions since Nov. 5, 2016. APSU did this while holding the ball 15minutes longer then Cincinnati.
Neither team surrendered a single point in the first quarter. The defense pinned their ears back, holding the Bearcats to only 16 yards in the first quarter. APSU’s offense forced the ball into enemy territory, but failed to score after losing a fumble.
After receiving a punt, the Bearcat offense set up shop near midfield on their first possession of the second quarter. The drive ended in a score, capped off by a Hayden Moore touchdown pass to Thomas Geddis. The extra-point created a 7-0 deficit.
APSU marched down the field on a touchdown drive of their own, assisted by a couple of Bearcat penalties. The drive ended in a touchdown, as JaVaughn Craig connected with Kentel Williams through the air for APSU’s first touchdown of the season.
Later on in the second quarter, the Bearcats regained the lead as Moore once again reached the end zone through the air, this time finding Kahlil Lewis.
APSU took the field trailing 14-7 with two minutes left in the first half. The offense drove down to the Bearcat’s two-yard line, however the half ended with an interception.
APSU proved that the first half was no fluke, as the close contest continued into the third quarter. Each team continued to play outstanding defense, as neither team gave up points until 12 minutes into the third.
Moore and the Bearcats capped off an eight-play drive, hitting Tyler Cogswell for a six-yard touchdown. The extra-point missed as the ball bounced off of the post, Cincinnati led 20-7.
APSU answered back on a methodical 13-play touchdown drive, ended with an 11-yard scoring run by Josh Alexander. after securing the extra-point, the score was 20-14 in favor of the Bearcats.
Later on, the Bearcats scored the touchdown that would secure their victory, as Mike Boone ran the ball five times for 42 yards on the drive, punching it in on a three-yard scamper. The Bearcats threw an incompletion on the two-point conversion, resulting in a 26-14 lead.
APSU worked the ball down to goal-to-go territory, but turned the ball over on downs, effectively ending the game.
JaVaughn Craig led the team in total yards, throwing for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Craig finished with 92 yards on the ground. Kentel Williams finished with 40 yards on the ground, and led the team in receiving with 34 yards and a touchdown.
APSU travels to Oxford, Ohio, Sept. 9, to play Miami (OH).