Austin Peay faces EKU for homecoming.
Carder Henry/APSU Athletics

The Austin Peay football team had tons of excitement surrounding the program, as they headed into a homecoming matchup and the program’s ASUN debut, with a top-20 team in Eastern Kentucky. The Governors more than met those expectations, as they overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to win 31-20.

“We just wanted to make a point tonight that the Govs are for real, the black and red is for real.” said Austin Peay Head Coach Scotty Walden.

APSU had an extremely rough first half, as they trailed 20-3 going into the locker after an underwhelming offensive performance and a pick six that killed any momentum the Governors had.

“Our guys were really focused and tuned in at halftime.” Walden said. “We made great adjustments on offense and defense, it was just a gritty performance and it was amazing to see our guys execute.” 

Quarterback Mike DiLiello has been a star for Austin Peay this season, but after a having a tough time getting the passing game going in the first half, including a pick six in the first half, DiLiello dominated with his legs throughout the game. DiLiello finished with 190 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns, along with 172 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The defense also found their way in the second half, shutting out an Eastern Kentucky team that moved the ball fairly easily in the first half. This effort fueled the second half comeback for Austin Peay and really set the tone that led to a win. 

The Governors entered the FCS Coaches Poll last week with a ranking of 23, but after the win over 20th ranked Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay is ranked 16th in the poll. APSU is currently the only ASUN team ranked in the Top 25.

The Governors will look to continue their momentum on Saturday on the road against Central Arkansas (1-3). The matchup will kickoff at 4 PM and will be streamed on ESPN+.