CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – It took a while, but the last train to Clarksville ran all over Furman and left a mark of mammoth proportions.
JaVaughn Craig threw for three touchdowns, including two in a span of 2:26 early in the third quarter that provided the separation, and Austin Peay ran for three more touchdowns on the way to an impressive 42-6 win over the Paladins in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday at Fortera Stadium.
Craig and the Governors, who improved to 10-3 on the season with Saturday’s win, will play at Sacramento State Dec. 7 in the second round. Sacramento State, the No. 4 overall seed, was idle on Saturday. The winner of the second-round game will play either Montana State or Albany. Montana State is the No. 5 seed and was idle on Saturday, while Albany rolled all over Central Connecticut State in their first-round contest.
Austin Peay came out of halftime and wasted little time in setting the tone against the Palidans.
Craig threw 15 yards to DeAngelo Wilson to cap a 70-yard drive that took just four plays to put the Governors in front 14-3 with 13:43 remaining in the period.
Kentel Williams provided one of the many highlights of the afternoon for the Governors when took a screen pass from Craig and scampered down the right side for 73 yards and a touchdown of his own as AP pushed its lead to 21-3 with 11:17 to play in the third quarter.
— Austin Peay Football (@GovsFB) November 30, 2019
Prince Momodu scored on a four-yard run less than a minute later to push the AP advantage to 28-3 with 10:37 to play in the period. Momodu’s run was set up by a fumble recovery by the Govs’ Kordell Jackson at the Furman-33.
Williams, who returned after missing three games with an injury, added a one-yard scoring run of his own with 2:41 left in the quarter as the Govs moved ahead 35-3.
Austin Peay would get a 22-yard scoring run from Bankiko Hartley in the fourth quarter to close out its scoring on the afternoon. The Governors had taken a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Elijah Brown grabbed a one-yard toss from Craig for the first score of the game with 7:41 to go in the quarter. It was the only catch of the game for Brown.
Furman managed just two field goals in the game. Grayson Atkins’s 23-yard field goal with 10:36 remaining in the first half was all the Paladins could muster.
The game was halted midway through the opening half for 83 minutes as a result of lightning in the area and neither team scored again in the first half as the Govs took a 7-3 advantage into the locker room. Atkins connected on his second field goal, this one from 34 yards, early in the final period.
Craig finished the game with 264 passing yards after completing 18 of his 23 aerial attempts. Three of those miscues came in the second half of play. The senior also added 20 yards rushing on eight carries on the day.
Kentel Williams finished with four catches for a game-high 103 yards and added a team-high 57 yards on 11 carries against the Paladins. Momodu finished with 22 yards on four carries and Hartley also carried four times for 29 yards. DeAngelo Williams amassed 68 yards on seven catches for the victors.
Austin Peay, which was picked to finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference at the start of the season, amassed 434 yards of total offense against Paladins.
A pair of Furman quarterbacks combined to pass from just 82 yards on the afternoon as Hamp Sisson and Darren Grainger combined to complete just eight of 15 passes in the game. Devin Wynn was the top rusher for the Paladins. He picked up 61 yards on 14 carries. But the rest of the Furman ball carriers were held to just 84 more yards on 24 additional carries. The Paladins were held to 227 yards of total offense.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.