CINCINNATI, Ohio-Cincinnati rolled up 561 yards, including 387 on the ground as it defeated Austin Peay State University, 72-10, Saturday, in the non-conference opener for both teams.
It was the fifth meeting between Austin Peay and Cincinnati, a Football Championship Subdivision member who played in Bowl Championship Series FedEx Orange Bowl just two seasons ago. The 72 points was the most permitted by the Govs in the series-it was the two teams' first meeting since 1993.
The loss also was the ninth straight for the Govs, dating back to the 2010 season.
Austin Peay did have some bright moments, especially in the second half. Stephen Stansell, who also handled the punting chores for the first time, kicked a 21-yard field goal to get the Govs on the scoreboard. Wesley Kitts (9 carries, 65 yards) and Ryan White (21 carries, 64 yards) had solid performances running the football.
In addition, quarterback Jake Ryan completed 16 of 23 passes for 150 yards and two interceptions, both picks coming as a result of receivers not handling passes. Junior Devin Stark had five catches for 66 yards, including a 36-yard catch to set up the Govs' first score.
But the 387 rushing yards did not sit well for head coach Rick Christophel, whose offseason focus was stopping the run.
"Our offense has got to do what it can to keep the defense off the field," he said. "But they (defense) have to do much better getting themselves off the field. Allowing 12-13-14 play drives just doesn't cut it."
The first quarter was especially unsettling for the Govs. After allowing Ralph David Abernathy to return the opening kickoff 60 yards, All-Big East running back Isaiah Pead took the handoff on the very next play and raced 40 yards down the left side for a quick 7-0 score. Pead would add another rushing TD later in the quarter as the Bearcats gained 114 rushing yards in the first quarter alone.
Quarterback Ryan also was victimized by two mishandled passes, one that bounced off Devon Stark's hands and ended up gaining a first down. However, the other, which bounced off Wes Kitts' hands, ended up in an interception in Govs territory, stifling a Govs drive and setting up the Bearcats for a score.
In the second quarter, things went from bad to worse, especially late in the half. The Bearcats, already up 27-0, scored with 39 seconds left. APSU proceeded to fumble the ensuing kickoff and the Bearcats scored one more time-as two APSU defenders collided-as Anthony McClung hauled in a 25-yard score from Collaros with just nine seconds left to make it a 41-0 halftime contest.
The Govs lone third-quarter highlight was a 36-yard pass from Jake Ryan to Devin Stark inside the 10-yard line, which set up the Govs only score, a 21-yard Stephen Stansell field goal. That field goal made it 63 straight games the Governors have not been shutout.
A 22-yard run by Kitts set up the Govs only TD, an eight-yard run by the junior tailback in the fourth quarter.
Austin Peay notes
Kicker Stephen Stansell, in his first game also as the Govs' punter, averaged averaged 40.7 yards per boot in the first half on three kicks.
Austin Peay was charged with three first-half turnovers, two fumbles and one interception--the interception coming off a dropped pass.
Weak safety Amius Smith led the Govs with seven first-half tackles, including six solo stops. He ended the game with nine stops, including two of the three Govs tackles for loss.
Austin Peay is now 0-5 against the Bearcats, all games being played at Nippert Stadium. This was APSU's first meeting with Cincinnati since Sept. 4, 1993.
After a week off, the Governors will play their second straight Football Bowl Subdivision program when it travels to Memphis, Sept. 17.
Austin Peay's Rick Christophel, a Reading, Ohio native, coached for the Bearcats under Watson Brown in 1983.
Christophel is now 0-3 coaching FBS teams.