FIRST COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME
The first college football game of the 2020 season will kickoff this Saturday live on ESPN at the Crampton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. The FCS Kickoff will feature two College Football Today nationally ranked teams in 13th ranked Austin Peay and the 20th ranked Central Arkansas Bears. Due to the tumultuous off-season due to Covid-19, we did not release a pre-season FCS-Top 25, as most of the FCS conferences have postponed their seasons until the fall. With that being said, there are a handful of FCS football teams that will be playing this season and the festivities begin with two teams who qualified for the 2019 FCS Playoffs. This should be a very exciting match-up and both teams are two of the best FCS football programs in the world of College Football Today. The Austin Peay Generals football program has seen their leader Mark Hudspeth resign this off-season, but the interim Head Coach Marquase Lovings and the 2019 coach staff that helped lead the Governors to a school record 11 wins remains intact. Three time FCS All-American Quarterback Nathan Brown is back as the Head Coach of the Central Arkansas Bears and they could have arguably one of the best DB prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS FOOTBALL
Central Arkansas football is loaded with talent heading into the 2020 season and the bears were even able to add defending national champions North Dakota State to their slate of games in October. Given that CB Robert Rochell has jumped onto many NFL scouts radar, I applaud the Bears for stepping up and competing in some big time contests during the pandemic. Central Arkansas currently has 8 games on their 2020 schedule and will turn around and play UAB on Thursday, September 3rd, while facing off against FBS opponents Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette to end the season. The Bears will play 4 very formidable FCS opponents in Austin Peay, Missouri State, North Dakota State and their schedule features Eastern Kentucky twice, both at home and away. According to many NFL Draft sources, Rochell has been timed running a 4.38, 40 yard dash and burnt a 3.89 5-10-5 shuttle. He possesses out of this world lower body strength, as it has been reported that he was able to leap 11'8" when testing his broad jump and his 10.98 second 60 yard shuttle is close to a NFL combine record. He was able to intercept 5 passes in 2019, while having breakout performances against FBS opponents Hawaii and Western Kentucky. Combining both match-ups against FBS teams, Rochell only has allowed 3 receptions for 24 yards and has 9 interceptions, as well as 28 pass break-ups the past two seasons. The Bears also have one of the nations leading passers in All-Southland QB Breylin Smith, who threw for 3,704 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2019, as the Bears have a plethora of explosive players that have returned. All-Southland Wide Receiver Lujuan Winningham had 50 receptions for 814 yards and 8 TD's in only 9 games and conference Freshmen of the Year Tyler Hudson was able to haul in 55 receptions for 975 yards and 12 TD's. The Bears also return running back Carlos Blackman, who rushed for 698 yards along with 377 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns. Central Arkansas was able to hold Austin Peay to 16 points in their 24-16 victory last season and will need them to step up if they look to replicate last years performance. Central Arkansas will be without their star right tackle Parker Ray, who recently underwent knee surgery, which could give advantageous Governors defense an edge.
AUSTIN PEAY FOOTBALL
Austin Peay football will have 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Freshmen of the Year Jeremiah Oatsvall back at Quarterback, after he was injured week 2 of the 2019 season. Oatsvall was able to throw for 232 yards and 3 TD's in last year's opening game and will lead a Governors offense that was able to produce 34.5 points per game in 2019, which helped them advance all the way to the FCS Quarterfinals. He will have the 2019 FCS leading receiver DeAngelo Wilson and Baniko Harley as dynamic play-makers on the outside, which should make for another potent offensive unit. The Governors defense is led by the 5'9,285 battering ram and first team All-OVC defensive tackle Josephus Smith, who had a breakout junior campaign in which the Governors only allowed 104 yards on the ground per game. What made Austin Peay's 2019 performance so impressive was the fact they were able to average a nation leading 20.6 points per game scored by the Governor's defense. The 2019 Austin Peay defense was able to produce 25 turnovers on the season and 2021 NFL Draft DB prospect Kordell Jackson ended the season with 7 interceptions, while taking 2 for TD's. If Austin Peay's defense remains as consistent and is able to create turnovers against one of the most prolific passing attacks in college football today, I believe they can come away victorious in the first college football game of the 2020 season.
AUSTIN PEAY VS CENTRAL ARKANSAS
My prediction for the Austin Peay vs Central Arkansas game can be found on the College Football Today RokFin channel and we are extremely excited for the first college football game of the 2020 season!
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