NCCU Football Drops Season-Opener to Austin Peay

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – North Carolina Central University kicked a field goal to start the scoring on Thursday night, but it was mostly Austin Peay State University the rest of the contest as the host Governors posted a 41-10 season-opening victory.

A 24-yard field goal connection by NCCU freshman Adrian Olivo gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead at 7:01 of the first quarter, but Austin Peay scored 41 unanswered points before the visitors tallied the last score, a 35-yard touchdown pass from Chauncey Caldwell to Nique Martin with 4:29 left to play.

One bright spot for the Eagles was the turnover battle. NCCU defensive backs collected three interceptions by freshman Shamar Baker, junior Marcus Martin and senior Stephen Stokes, while the Eagles did not turn the ball over.

Another defensive back, sophomore Justin Nicholson, recorded a game-high three pass break-ups to go with five solo takedowns, while yet another defensive back, senior Deonta Fair, amassed a game-high 11 tackles. Junior linebacker Austin Parker chipped in 10 tackles, while junior linebacker Noah Rainbow-Douglas contributed seven stops.

Offensively, nine different Eagles caught a pass, topped by junior receiver Ryan McDaniel with five receptions for 21 yards and Martin with three grabs for 80 yards, including a touchdown.

NCCU starting quarterback Micah Zanders completed 10 of 20 passes for 61 yards, while Caldwell threw for 78 yards on 8-for-23 passing with a team-best 21 rushing yards.

As a team, NCCU tallied 192 yards of total offense, compared to Austin Peay’s 563 total yards.

Up next, NCCU visits Towson on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.

Attached Photo: Marcus Martin (18) celebrates the second of NCCU’s three interceptions at Austin Peay. Joining in the celebration are Shamar Baker (20) and Deonta Fair (10). Photo by KeShawn Ennis.

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