Austin Peay State University Football loses at Central Arkansas, 49-20


APSU FootballConway, ARKam Thomas’ 92-yard punt return for a touchdown set a program record but the Austin Peay State University (APSU) football team saw its four-game win streak come to an end with a 49-20 ASUN Conference loss at Central Arkansas, Saturday, at Estes Stadium.

Austin Peay (4-2, 1-1 ASUN) nearly overcame a slow start to the game with its first two drives ending on downs and its third stopped on an interception. Despite that start, the Govs trailed only 7-6 at the break as their defense hunkered down to shutout Central Arkansas after a game-opening touchdown.

However, the APSU Govs could not overcome a third-quarter sequence that saw Central Arkansas (2-3, 1-0 ASUN) score on back-to-back possessions. The first saw its offense take the opening possession 61 yards for a touchdown. The second drive followed a rare Austin Peay State University fumble that set up UCA inside the APSU 20-yard line and ultimately led to a touchdown that extended the lead to 21-6.
The Bears and Govs then traded punt return touchdowns. Central Arkansas saw Jarrod Barnes return a punt 64 yards for a touchdown to go ahead 28-6. Then, on the final play of the third quarter, Kam Thomas returned a punt a program-record 92 yards for a touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 28-13.
Central Arkansas would respond on the ensuing drive, with a pair of Austin Peay State University penalties assisting their effort on a 75-yard drive that needed just six plays to find the end zone. Myles Butler caught a 32-yard pass from McElvain extending the Bears’ lead to 35-13.
DiLiello completed 29-of-45 passes for 248 yards. However, the APSU Govs rushing attack was held to 45 yards with Jevon Jackson’s 36 yards on 11 carries leading that effort. After its opening 175-yard first half, the Govs were held to 118 second-half yards.
McElvain threw four touchdown passes as part of his 20-of-31, 261-yard passing performance. Central Arkansas narrowly outgained Austin Peay State University 311-293 but made the most of superior field position throughout the game.

Scoring Summary

APSU 0, UCA 7 – After Austin Peay State University turned the ball over on downs in its own territory, Central Arkansas needed just five plays to cover the 32 yards it needed for the game’s first touchdown. The Bears converted a 3rd-and-1 with a three-yard run to extend the drive. Two plays later McElvain found Christian Richmond for a 14-yard touchdown for the early lead.

APSU 3, UCA 7 – On a drive that started on its own 20-yard line, Austin Peay faced a 3rd-and-8 on its own 22-yard line early in the drive but DiLiello and company forced a pass interference penalty to keep the drive alive. The Govs showed a new offensive wrinkle two plays later and Josh DeCambre took the bubble screen pass for 15 yards and another first down. Austin Peay would earn a third first down on the drive when Jevon Jackson crashed through the middle of the line for 13 yards. But the Govs drive stalled out at the 38-yard line and Maddux Trujillo turned the Govs drive into points with a 45-yard field goal.

APSU 6, UCA 7 – A short UCA punt set the Governors up on their own 44-yard line late in the second quarter. The Governors got their longest play of the first half early on, DiLiello finding McCray for a 34-yard completion to get the ball to the Central Arkansas 25-yard line. The Govs would grind their way inside the Bears’ five-yard line but with 1st-and-Goal at the four, the Govs would run three plays and lose two yards. Trujillo returned to the field and converted a 23-yard field goal to trim the deficit to a point just in front of the halftime horn.

APSU 6, UCA 14 – UCA got a 37-yard kickoff return to open the second half, putting them at their own 39-yard line. McElvain ran for a first down on the drive’s first play and was held to a short gain on the second play. The Bears third play went for six as the APSU Govs defender lost his footing and then McElvain found Myles Kitt-Denton for the 44-yard touchdown completion.

APSU 6, UCA 21 – An Austin Peay State University fumble on the ensuing drive set Central Arkansas’ second drive up at the Austin Peay 18-yard line. Facing a potential three-and-out after the turnover, Central Arkansas converted the first down thanks to a 17-yard run by Darius Hale. The Bears completed the drive by handing the ball to Hale again for the one-yard score.

APSU 6, UCA 28 – The Bears extended their lead after forcing a Govs’ three-and-out on their ensuing drive. The Govs’ punt was received by Jarrod Barnes and returned 64-yards for a touchdown.

APSU 13, UCA 28 – Austin Peay State University’s special teams matched their counterpart just as the third quarter came to an end. Kam Thomas fielded a punt at the eight-yard line and missed a pair of would-be tacklers then picked up some key blocking at midfield to break off a 92-yard punt return touchdown – the longest in program history.

APSU 13, UCA 35 – After gaining eight yards on their first two plays of the fourth-quarter opening drive, Central Arkansas took advantage of back-to-back pass interference penalties to get into Austin Peay territory. After a five-yard rush, McElvain found Butler for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

APSU 13, UCA 42 – Central Arkansas forced a turnover on downs at midfield on the following Austin Peay drive. After five plays that gained just 12 yards, McElvain again found a wide-open Trustin Oliver on the Bears’ sideline for a 37-yard touchdown.

APSU 13, UCA 49 – Central Arkansas’ defense forced another turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter as the Govs attempted to find a way back. The Bears drive was a single play – Darius Hale’s 30-yard touchdown run.

APSU 20, UCA 49 – Austin Peay State University took advantage of a short field on its final drive of the day with DiLiello taking the Govs down the field in seven plays. A pass interference penalty in the end zone gave Austin Peay a goal-to-go opportunity and Josh Samuel dove in from the two-yard line for the game’s final score.  

Next Up For APSU Football

Austin Peay State University football takes the first of its two bye weeks before hosting Murray State in an October 15th, 3:00pm game at Fortera Stadium. The Governors host their annual Military Appreciation Day in conjunction with the game against the Racers.

For more information on promotions and events around Military Appreciation Day, visit or follow Austin Peay athletics on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on the @LetsGoPeay handle.

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