Scotty Walden can’t blame it on the effort. He wouldn’t blame it on a lack of energy, either.
Despite allowing 32 points per game this season and turning the ball over six times in its most recent contest, he isn’t even attributing a three-game skid to a particular side of the ball.
Walden thinks his team is simply stuck in a “mental slump.”
“I know we’re doing the right things. I really believe that,” Walden said after Austin Peay (2-4, 0-1 OVC) dropped a 30-14 homecoming bout with Southeast Missouri. “To pinpoint it, we’re just making critical errors. They’re mistakes, but they’re drive-stopping or game-changing mistakes.”
The Redhawks (2-4, 1-0 OVC) scored on their first drive of the game after a muffed punt placed them at the 12 of APSU. Ahmaad Tanner fumbled on the next possession, which resulted in an 8-yard touchdown pass from SEMO QB CJ Ogbonna.
A Tanner touchdown brought the score within one point at the end of the first, and the Governors defense forced a field goal attempt to start the second.
But a roughing the kicker penalty allowed a first down and a 2-yard rush from Geno Hess for six.
A 53-yard scamper from Tanner trimmed the deficit to 23-14 with 10 minutes remaining in the third. SEMO then converted five third-down conversions on its following drive to put the game on ice.
Quarterback Draylen Ellis threw two of his three interceptions and Tanner lost his second fumble at midfield in the fourth quarter.
“When the defense is playing well, (the) offense feels like they have to press and go perform and then we don’t; when the offense performs, the defense … we don’t execute the routine plays,” Walden said. “We just have to relax and play.”
After losing meeting against Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State, Saturday’s loss marks the Govs’ third consecutive defeat to an FCS opponent. It’s their longest losing streak since an 0-11 campaign in 2016.
Walden said his team isn’t soul-searching or lacking in identity but added that personnel changes could be coming before an Oct. 23 rivalry game at Mu**ay State.
“There’s a ton of good going on,” he said. “I really believe that at some point it’s going to come through and it’s going to come to fruition. If we just don’t give up and don’t grow weary in doing good, we’re going to reap that harvest really, really soon.
“There’s a locker room full of guys that believe that. They believe we’re doing the right things. It’s going to come through. Our coaching staff believes it’s going to come through, and I promise you we’re not going to back down from anybody.”