The Governors wrapped up their fall season with a game against the 13th ranked team in the country—the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Their trip did not go as planned, as an upset-hungry Govs team faltered in obtaining their first win of the 2020 season. The Bearcats would outperform APSU in their home opener with a dominant 55-20 victory.
“When you look at this game you just point the finger at us again,” head coach Marquase Lovings said. “There were so many blown assignments, especially defensively. You just ask yourself ‘why?’ time and time again. Like the three offsides calls we had on defense or guys not taking the quarterback when they need to on a zone read. We were okay on offense. We moved the ball when we needed to, sometimes. I was really encouraged by the first drive [and] how we did some things.”
Cincinnati hit their stride early with a 29-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Desmond Ridder to Tre Tucker.
The Governors would respond to the touchdown with a 14-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Grant Paulette. It was the first points the team had put onto the board since the 1:40 mark of the FCS Kickoff game against Central Arkansas.
On the Bearcats’ next three drives they would separate themselves from the Govs, thanks to three touchdowns coming from senior Gerrid Doaks. Cincinnati took a 28-3 lead going into the first half.
APSU put themselves back on the scoreboard on their first drive of the second half. Another Paulette field goal shortened the deficit to 22 but their ineffectiveness to stop an electric Bearcat offense led to their ultimate demise.
The Governors next score would come midway through the fourth off the swift feet of freshman running back C.J Evans. The freshman lived up to his home run ability later in the quarter with a breakaway 64-yard rush up the right sideline.
Ultimately, any comeback bid the Governors would have came too late as the Govs would fall in their third straight game.
Baniko Harley continued his impressive start to the 2020-21 season with a 94-yard receiving day off four receptions. Lovings has been impressed with the senior wideout’s performance thus far.
“That kid is a true competitor,” Lovings said. “Sometimes I wish he would trust his feet. He should have two touchdowns on the season with the posts he caught against Pitt, and today he caught a streak down the sideline. He just has to trust his speed. He should have two touchdowns on the season and about 240 yards overall. That kid is a competitor. He is one of the leaders on our team. He does it by example and I cannot wait to see – moving forward with him against some of the best competition we have faced – what he will do in the spring.”
The team falls to 0-3, but looks to use an unprecedented off season to prepare for conference play in the spring.
“I think it benefited us tremendously,” Lovings added. “Now we know if we are giving our best its not good enough and if we aren’t giving our best, why not? We are about to start the offseason and get back in the weight room, develop leaders. We have to have our team come together and bond. It’s going to be a rough off season for us, because we are going to push our young men and know what it looks like to be a top-25 FCS program that we claim to be. We have the talent in the room. That’s not the issue, but we are going to get this team closer together than ever before and I can’t wait to get started with our coaches.
“I’m proud that we were able to show America you can play football during a pandemic.”