Gadsden Times Previews the Peay Game

A nice writeup from the Gadsden Times previewing JSU’s game against Austin Peay

JSU prepares for Austin Peay

By Jimmy Smothers
Times Sports Editor Emeritus

Published: Monday, October 26, 2009 at 8:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 26, 2009 at 8:28 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — When Jacksonville State travels to Clarksville, Tenn., to play Austin Peay Saturday afternoon, the teams will be coming from opposite directions.

The Gamecocks will be coming off a rare homecoming loss — 28-20 — to Eastern Illinois and the Governors are coming off a big homecoming win over Eastern Kentucky.

The defeat dropped Jacksonville State’s record to 4-3 and from 12th to 20th in the Coaches’ poll. But the loss, due largely to mistakes by special teams, did not take away the team’s spirit nor its goal to wind up as the highest ranked Ohio Valley Conference team.

Coach Jack Crowe said at his Monday press conference the players are recovering emotionally from a disappointing loss.

“I really don’t expect us not to recover. If we are what I think we are, we will come back stronger than before,” Crowe said. “The loss was a result of clearly one phase and that’s the kicking game. Some of it was our miscues and some of it was a result of plays made by Eastern Illinois that they deserve full credit for. They recover an onside kick after scoring. They blocked a punt. They returned a kickoff.”

Crowe added that Eastern Illinois’ Lorence Ricks may be the best special teams’ player in the country.

Austin Peay’s win was its second in a row, snapping a four game losing streak. The Governors are now 3-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Jacksonville State has won the past two years and has a10-6-3 lead in the overall series.

“Austin Peay is a dangerous football team for anybody to play. In their last contest, which was Eastern Kentucky, they won the football game. Eastern Kentucky made some mistakes, but they did not give them the football game,” Crowe said. “Of the top six rushing games in the OVC this year, Austin Peay has all six of them with two different people. Ryan White, their starting running back, has three of them and his backup, Terrance Holt, has the other three. Both of them have had 100-yard rushing days.”

Holt is leading the nation in all-purpose yardage and is a solid kick returner.

“This is a team that positions itself to win,” Crowe continued. “It will take a great effort. I think we are very capable, defensively, of handling the challenge, but I think we are going to have to get back on our game. We didn’t play poorly last week, defensively, but we could have played better obviously, and we have got to play better this week.

“Offensively, we continue to throw for more yards than we run for, which is a Ryan Perrilloux affect. I thought Ryan had a good game but did not have his best game. I expect his game to improve and I expect us to get more out of our running game. Right now we are a team that knows it is talented.

“I still have a lot of confidence in our team. I think we are fully capable of being a dominate team but we cannot be, offensively and defensively, what we are and have the result of that productivity and lose the kicking game. I don’t expect it to happen again to be honest with you,” Crowe added.

Austin Peay is coached by Rick Christopher, who is 12-7 in his third year at his alma mater, where he was a quarterback. He was an assistant coach for 11 years at UAB. During that time UAB went 3-1 against Jacksonville State.

Jacksonville State running back Calvin Middleton and linebacker Ricky Thomas of Austin Peay were high school teammates at North Cobb High School in Acworth, Ga.

Saturday’s game is set for a 4 p.m. kickoff.

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