FCS Playoff Game Breakdown: Furman at Austin Peay

Furman at Austin Peay
Furman had to be sweating on Selection Sunday. Many pundits, myself included, thought the Committee would overlook the Paladins, having only seven Division I wins. In their defense, they only had two FCS losses, to The Citadel and Wofford. Both of those are tough opponents to line up against and prepare for. Not that preparing for Furman is any more enjoyable. Their multi-back, option offense is a head scatcher and midnight oil burner for many defensive coordinators. Running back Devin Wynn is the main workhorse, but Devin Abrams, Corey Watkins and Wayne Anerson, Jr. all average better than 6.5 yards per carry. Freshman quarterback Darren Grainger is only asked to throw the ball about 13 times per game on average and is wildly efficient when doing so. Having an offense like that is very beneficial to the defense also. They only surrender 18.8 points per game (12th nationally), partly because of the offense’s overwhelming clock control.
If not for a couple of losses to East Tennessee State and Tennessee State, the Governors might have been making their first playoff appearance as a seeded team. Still, they’ve won five straight in a stretch where they’ve given up no more than 24 and scored no less than 28, in each game. That’s a pretty good recipe for success. The main chef on the team is JaVaughn Craig, who’s combined for 3100 yards of offense and 30 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions. DeAngelo Wilson is a handful for just about any defensive backfield and Baniko Harley is a terrific second option in the passing game. The defense is a bend but not break unit. They rank 10th nationally in yardage, but rank in the bottom 25 in field goals allowed. Better than giving up touchdowns.
This game is going to come down to Austin Peay’s ability to slow down or stop Furman’s rushing attack. And one week to prepare for it is a tall order. However, the Governors rank 6th nationally against the run. Something has to give.
Prediction: Austin Peay 20, Furman 19