CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - For a second straight game, Austin Peay State University's football team got off to a good start. For the second straight contest, the Governors could not finish what it started.
Austin Peay dominated the first quarter, getting off to a 10-0 lead, but it was Eastern Illinois who dominated the game's remainder as the Governors fell to the Panthers, 19-10, Saturday afternoon in Ohio Valley Conference action.
The loss was the Govs' fourth straight as the Govs fell to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the OVC. Meanwhile, for a second straight season Eastern Illinois garnered its first OVC win against the Govs, improving the Panthers to 2-7 overall and 1-6 in the OVC. The victory snapped EIU's seven-game losing streak. The EIU win also spoiled APSU's homecoming.
In losing to Southeast Missouri, 17-13, the Govs got out to 7-0 and 10-3 early leads. This week was eerily similar.
Austin Peay controlled the ball for 12:41 in the first quarter, limiting Eastern Illinois to just three offensive plays. The Govs opened the contest by driving 71 yards in 11 plays, with Ryan White taking it in from eight yards out.
After Eastern Illinois' only possession, the Govs drove 60 yards on 17 plays before settling for a 21-yard Stephen stansell field goal.
The Governors rang up 124 yards in the first quarter, but only 202 the game's remainder as the Panthers gained their footing doing something they are not supposed to do well-run the football.
The Panthers entered the contest averaging just 68.2 yards rushing per game. They finished with 181 on the day, with Jake Walker gobbling up 124 (25 carries)-his first career 100-yard game.
His play and the timely throwing of Jimmy Garoppolo allowed the Panthers to control the game the final three quarters. The Panthers finished with 382 yards total offense, 379 coming after the opening period.
The Panthers got back into the game early in the second quarter when Garoppolo hooked up with Chris Wright on a 52-yard catch and run to cut it to 10-6. It was Wright's ninth TD catch of the season. The Panthers scored again with 4:27 left in the half on Walker's two-yard run. As a result, EIU took a 13-10 lead into halftime.
The second half then became a battle of field position and field goals as Cameron Berra, who also plays baseball for the Panthers, provided the only points on boots of 25 and 28 yards.
The Govs' only second-half attempt, a 51-yarder, was blocked by EIU.
White finished with 115 yards rushing for his second straight 100-yard performance. Wes Kitts had 86 yards for the Govs as well.
Freshman quarterback Landon Curtis, in his first college start, completed 14 of 30 passes for 111 yards. However, he was sacked four times.
Austin Peay returns for its final home game 1 p.m., next Saturday when it plays host to Central State in a non-conference tilt at Governors Stadium.