A 24-point second quarter turned a close contest into demolition, and Austin Peay State University football walked away with its first season-opening win since 2010 in a 41-10 romp against North Carolina Central.
The first half was the DeAngelo Wilson Show. Somehow, every the Govs got the ball, there went Wilson sprinting through the defense on his way to the end zone. The junior from Bowling Green notched touchdown receptions of 25, 40 and 29 yards—all in the opening 30 minutes—and rolled up all six catches for 106 yards in the first half.
The Govs showed they had plenty in the bag for the opener. All-American Kentel Williams got his touches (12 carries for 139 yards, then an additional four catches for 26 yards)—his 11.6 yards per carry mark on the evening gives him an 8.4 yards per carry mark over the past 10 games.
And if the Govs weren’t feeding their All-OVC back, they had trickeration aplenty—Wilson’s second touchdown catch of the evening was the result of a Williams-to-Baniko Harley reverse wide receiver pass that saw Harley, the former quarterback, launch a left-handed rocket 40 yards into Wilson’s outstretched arms.
Much of this was the result of a line which controlled the point of attack and dictated the momentum when the Govs had the ball. Austin Peay as a team averaged just under six yards per carry and tallied 291 yards on 49 attempts, gouging the Eagle defense for 11 runs of 10 yards or longer.
Add it all up, mix in a defense that surrendered less than two yards per carry and you’ve got a dominating performance on your hands.
North Carolina Central got on the board first, but they didn’t have the lead for long. Less than a minute after taking the ensuing kickoff, junior quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall had engineered a six-play, 59-yard drive that saw him hit Wilson from 25 yards out for six. Following a brief five-play Eagle drive, the Govs had the ball back and embarked on a 10-play march that stretched into the second quarter and saw Logan Birchfield convert a field goal from 27 yards out.
And then the rout was on.
For the sake of variety, an eight-yard fade from Oatsvall to Keenan Barnes for a score that allowed the Govs to enter halftime with a 31-3 lead.