Among the heartbreak of continuing a losing streak to 25 games, a diamond appeared for APSU in true freshman quarterback JaVaughn Craig.
Craig led a winless APSU football teamt hrough a four quarter battle that fell 1.7 seconds left as the Govs lost to TSU 41-40.
“As much of a player as he’s been, JaVaughn has been a really good leader,” Head Coach Will Healy said to letsgopeay.com “He was a team captain for us today, and he just competes. I looked at his face, I looked at Kentel Williams’ face, I looked at Kyran Moore, and those kids left it all on the field. The thing I have to say tomorrow is you left everything on the field and even though you didn’t get the outcome you wanted, that does not change who you are becoming and what you need to continue doing.”
Tennessee State took the final lead of the game off a 21 yard pass from Ronald Butler to Steven Newbold with 1.7 seconds left.
Craig completed 17 of 25 passes while throwing for 322 yards.
The Chattanooga, Tennessee native tied the APSU record behind five touchdown passes.
Craig’s efforts were the first time the Govs had five touchdown passes since 2001.
The accomplishment also doubles as the 9th-best in the NCAA for 2016, and ties the season high mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.
It was the first time a freshman threw for five touchdown in school history.
Craig started the day early when he hit James Coleman on a 6-yard connection for the first score of the game, putting APSU ahead 7-0 with 10:18 left in the first.
APSU added a safety when Demarion Allen returned the blocked TSU extra point.
Down 20-9 late in the first half, Craig found Beard for a 34 yarder. Nick Guana closed out the 1st half with a 36 yard field goal while APSU entered halftime down 20-19.
With 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter Craig hit his third touchdown pass to avoid being shutout in the third.
Craig linked up with Coleman for the second time on a five yard hit to bring APSU to a 34-26 deficit.
Craig continued the momentum into the final quarter with a 6-yard pass for 6 points to Beard.
APSU would fail to convert on the 2-point attempt bringing the score to 34-32.
Craig’s final touchdown pass of the day was his longest, as he found Beard for the third time on a 40 yard hit, bringing the Govs to a 38-34 lead with 1:05 left in the game.
Craig continued success by running in a 2-point conversion and putting APSU up 40-34. Craig closed out the day with 68 percent on passing and 144 rushing yards.
APSU is slowly inching themselves towards a win.
Craig and the Govs have their last home game against Eastern Kentucky at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12.