APSU football was once the butt of every athletic joke in the book. An inability to win games enacted a stint of disinterest for football in Clarksville, TN.
Ten years later, the Governors are the surprise story of the season: winning their first Ohio Valley Conference title since 1977 and advancing to the 2019 FCS Playoff Quarterfinals. The Govs’ 11-4 record serves as their best in over a decade.
This information begs the question; what did APSU’s football program consist of 10 years prior?
2009 was a step in the right direction for the Governors’, who finished 2-9 a year before. Head coach Rick Christophel led the Govs to a two-win increase thanks to 26 seniors on the roster alongside offensive playmakers Terrence Holt and Ryan White. The duo combined for over 3,000 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns, constructing a top five scoring offense in the OVC.
Holt and White’s explosvieness were not enough to lure fans into an un-renovated Fortera Stadium: fan attendance stood at an average of 4,918 per game for the season, almost a third-less fans when compared to the 2018 average of 7,562, according to the NCAA.
The ground game was vital to any offensive success during the campaign, due to the lack of productivity under center: Christophel utilized three different quarterbacks during the 2009 season, all three of which holding a combined average of 78 passing yards per game, and a 6-18 touchdown to interception ratio.
APSU’s success could not be manufactured from a ground game alone, however: the defense of the Governors allowed a shade under 29 points per game, allowing a season-high 48 points to the Skyhawks of UT-Martin in the regular season finale. The Govs dropped three of their final four contests, with a 16-point average margin of defeat over that span. Christophel would remain as coach for an additional three seasons, before leaving the program in 2012.
Flash forward a decade, and first-year head coach Mark Hudspeth combined with offensive coordinator Tim Zetts have seemingly figured out the decade-old quarterback conundrum in Javaughn Craig: the senior produced over 4,000 all-purpose yards on the season, averaging 213 yards through the air as well as achieving a near- perfect 140.4 passer rating.
The Governors have flipped the script since 2009, as APSU led the Valley in scoring offense and defense, won the conference championship and received 11 All-OVC honors in 2019. With four FBS division one transfers entering the program this fall and another notable recruiting class, APSU football is poised for greatness in 2020 and beyond.