The 69th edition of homecoming at Austin Peay took place on Saturday, Oct. 26 with many events happening on campus throughout the week into the weekend. All things led to Governors Stadium, with APSU taking on UT Martin in an Ohio Valley Conference match-up.
The Govs (0-8, 0-4) scored a season-best total in points, but were unable to match the Skyhawks (5-3, 3-2) who returned home with a 38-14 win.
Red shirt freshman Timarious Mitchell got the start at quarterback for APSU, and kept his team in the ball game by completing half of his passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns to senior receiver Darryl Clack. Mitchell, who said there weren’t any nerves coming into his first collegiate start, was comfortable leading his troops for the majority of the game.
“I’m confident in my O-line and the offense period,” Mitchell said. “We missed a couple plays, but I still encouraged them on the sidelines to keep their heads up and get it next time on the next play.”
With just four minutes into the game, the Skyhawks were able to get on the board first as tailback Abou Toure broke a 31-yard run to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. After a punt, UT Martin was given a break as the Govs were penalized for a 15-yard personal foul, putting the Skyhawks within striking distance. From there, they pounded the rock with DJ McNeil to go up 14-0 at the 3:41 mark of the opening quarter.
Early in the contest, APSU starting running back Tim Phillips suffered a triceps injury and did not return. This put a hefty workload on freshman Omar Williams, who carried the ball 25 times for 122 yards, his second 100-yard game of the season. Williams said the injury to Phillips forced them to make adjustments to a different style of runner.
“Phillips is more of a finesse back who can change directions and make moves on people, while I’m more of a downhill back,” he said. “When he goes down, I have to fill his shoes and they are big shoes to fill. I just get in and do what I can to have success.”
Following a third-straight punt by APSU, the Gov defense caught a break as UT Martin quarterback Jarod Neal was picked off on a short pass near the line of scrimmage by Jonathan Shuler. After scoring just two touchdowns all season, Mitchell increased that total to three as he found Daryl Clack for a five-yard pitch and catch. Clack would later add a six-yard score in the third quarter after making a difficult catch in the corner of the end zone.
“He makes my job a lot easier,” Mitchell stated. “I just loft it up to him and put it in his area where he can get it. It’s great having him.”
UT Martin wide out Jeremy Butler led the way for the Skyhawks by catching 11 passes for 171 yards and two scores.
Jamaar Embry was APSU’s leading receiver with six catches for 46 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Craig Salley was the leader in tackles with 10 while Montez Carlton intercepted his first pass of the season.
The Govs will return to Governors Stadium on Nov. 2 to play host to Jacksonville State at 4:00 p.m.