CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay used four big plays – three on offense and one on defense – as well as a combined 212 rushing yards from Terrence Holt and Ryan White, en route to a 38-6 victory over Cumberland Thursday night in the season opener for both teams at Governors Stadium.
Lemeco Miller was named the Music City Star of the Game for the Bulldogs after registering career-highs in rushing attempts and yards.
The Govs (1-0) tossed a 30-yard reverse pass, Holt broke a 42-yard TD run, Wesley Kitts scampered 68 yards for a score and Delton Teeter had a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown in the contest.
Cumberland’s defense recovered two fumbles and had a pair of interceptions, but the offense mustered only 166 yards of total offense through the first three quarters and tossed two interceptions in the second half.
Starting quarterback Reed Gurchiek was injured early in the third quarter near the Bulldog goal line, causing a lengthy delay in the contest. Gurchiek completed just 6-of-22 passes but rushed 14 times for 44 yards before his injury.
Austin Peay rushed 42 times for 306 yards and three touchdowns, led by Holt’s 14 carries for 126 yards. White added 86 yards on 11 attempts and Kitts collected 107 yards on 11 rushes.
Chris Simpson and Cody McCallister both intercepted passes for the Bulldogs, while Collin Urenda and Simon Moriarty recovered fumbles.
The Bulldogs were unable to get any rhythm offensively in the first quarter, but the defense picked up the slack, limiting the Govs to just 87 yards of total offense and even overcoming a blocked punt. CU held APSU on a fourth down after the blocked punt and continued to bend but not break, forcing the Govs into a 41-yard field goal from Stephen Stansell with 1:41 to play in the quarter.
CU punter Tyler Emmetts fumbled the snap on the first play of the second quarter and Austin Peay took advantage immediately, going into the bag of tricks for a reverse pass, as Devin Stark took the handoff and completed a 30-yard pass to a wide-open Darryl Miller. Stansell booted through the extra point for a 10-0 advantage for the home team.
Cumberland got on the board midway through the second quarter after Urenda recovered a fumble at the APSU 23. Gurchiek rushed eight yards for a first down but was sacked on the next third down, but Jared White booted through a 29-yard field goal, cutting the deficit to 10-3 with 6:25 left in the half.
The Govs came right back on the next drive and added to the lead, capped by a 42-yard scamper from Holt for a 17-3 APSU advantage. White added a two-run TD plunge for the Govs with 1:58 to play in the half, giving the home team a 24-3 edge.
Cumberland put together its best drive of the half just before intermission, thanks in part to 35 yards in penalties from the Govs. Gurchiek completed a pair of throws on the 11-play drive, but it stalled at the 19 and White hooked a 36-yard attempt with 10 seconds to play in the period.
The Bulldogs had just 91 yards of total offense at the break compared to 235 from Govs, 170 on the ground. White and Holt combined for 18 carries and 173 yards before intermission along with a pair of touchdowns.
White got another chance early in the third period after Moriarty recovered APSU’s second fumble of the contest. The freshman booted a 22-yard field goal, capping a six-play drive.
Teeter added to the Govs advantage with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown later in the third period for a 31-6 home team lead. Kitts added a 68-yard TD run in the final minute of the contest.
Cumberland opens the home schedule on Saturday, September 11 against Campbellsville University at Lindsey Donnell Stadium-Kirk Field.