Central Arkansas Beats Austin Peay As Game Goes On Without A Hitch
Published Aug. 29
The teams were unknown, the game was boring and the announcers were of the quality you would expect to find on a Tuesday night ESPN game.
But hey, college football is back, and what a start – it began with a dazzling 75-yard touchdown run on the first play. For those looking forward to seeing action on the field after all the COVID-19 conversations and cancellations, this was a big sigh of relief that included this one word: “finally!”
Austin Peay and Central Arkansas played a game on Saturday night (in Montgomery, AL of all places) and while normally this would hardly register a blip on any fan’s radar, it was both a celebration and a trial for the entire college football world to see if a game could be safely played in 2020.
And other than coaches struggling with pulling down their masks while calling plays and talking to officials and their players, it was impossible to tell anything was different from any other year. There were even reminders of one of the most frustrating elements of watching college football: useless and momentum-killing replays of obvious plays.
This, of course, was hardly a game to judge what will happen when the “big boys” of the ACC, Big 12 and SEC take the field. But football is football and the basics went off without a hitch.
The Bears of Central Arkansas scored with 34 seconds remaining to beat the Governors – that would be Austin Peay, named for a former governor of Tennessee – 24-17. Austin Peay, which scored scored first on that long run, had taken a 17-16 with 1:40 left in the game.
In between were a lot of “er, what else is on TV” moments but for diehards of the sport, it was nice to be watching a live football game on TV rather than the endless reruns of past games on cable channels.
The crowd was light – each team was only allotted 400 tickets. But this game, particularly hundreds of miles from either school’s campus – would not have drawn many more fans anyway. The real test of what college football is really like in 2020 will come later when the three big conferences start play in September.
In some conferences, anyway.