MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The first college football game of the 2020 season was unlike any other. In the midst of a pandemic, Austin Peay and Central Arkansas took the field at Cramton Bowl and gave fans a game that won’t soon be forgotten.
The first play of the game was exactly what football fans needed: a 75 yard touchdown carry from Austin Peay’s CJ Evans Jr. to get the fans on their feet.
A few field goals later, and teams headed to the locker room with a 10-6 Governors lead.
It came down to the wire, but the Bears scored with just over 30 seconds left in the contest. Despite a valiant last-chance effort from Austin Peay, Central Arkansas halted the hail mary attempt to win the first college contest of the new season.
However, Saturday’s game was bigger than football.
Prior to the game, the Bears locked arms, marching onto the field shouting “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” And just one day before the big kickoff, the Governors followed in the footsteps of the late John Lewis, walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Both teams say playing in historic Montgomery was a great way for the guys to grow off the field.
“I don’t know why we were chosen to play in this game in Montgomery, Alabama, but you look at the history of MLK and Rosa Parks and just everything that comes with Montgomery, Alabama, and then the environment we’re in right now, its just so cool for our young men to be a part of this,” said Central Arkansas Head Coach Nathan Brown.
“I thought it was really pivotal for our guys to see what took place before they were even born, to understand when equality wasn’t,” added Austin Peay head coach Marquase Lovings. “But now that we have equality, are we teaching people in the younger generation of what happened so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again?”
Central Arkansas will make the quick trip to Birmingham to prepare for its upcoming match against UAB on Thursday, Sept. 3rd. Austin Peay won’t return to the field until Sept. 12, where it will take on Pittsburg.