Ben Campbell, Tyler Miles
Austin Peay will enter Neyland Stadium today as a 51-point underdog, but Ben Campbell is likely to get a kick out of the experience.
Campbell, Austin Peay’s punter, and former Science Hill teammate Tyler Miles will be in Knoxville when their Governors take on Tennessee (6 p.m.) in the debuts of Volunteers’ Butch Jones and Austin Peay counterpart Kirby Cannon.
Miles exited spring camp atop the depth chart at left guard, but is out with a knee injury. His status is week to week, according to Austin Peay SID Brad Kirtley.
But Campbell could see a lot of action, not that it’d be ideal for the Governors.
“I am very excited to play this weekend against the University of Tennessee,” Campbell said via email, “and it has been a goal for me for a long time.”
Campbell, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior, is set to start for the third straight season. He averaged 38.0 yards on 57 punts last year, and six were in excess of 50 yards.
Among the Governors’ adventures in 2012 was a visit to Virginia Tech, which Campbell’s sure to remember today.
“I think it’ll be a similar experience to Virginia Tech,” he said.
But the visit to Knoxville will be more special.
“I did go to quite a few games growing up,” Campbell said. “My brother (Will) went to school there just as a student, so I would visit him and watch games. It is hard to imagine the experience until I actually am there, but I imagine it’ll be unreal. I can’t wait to play in front of many of the people that watched me in high school, too. It is something I have been looking forward to for a long time.”
Campbell had a 69-yard punt against Elizabethton in 2010, and he was crucial to the Stacy Carter era at Science Hill beginning with a victory that year.
He made several big plays in a 10-7 win at Soddy-Daisy, including taking a would-be interception away from a defender on Science Hill’s end of the field with two minutes left and a 54-yard punt some 30 seconds later that inspired Soddy-Daisy’s public address man to say, “Folks, that was quite a kick by Mr. Campbell.”
Campbell will surely experience some level of satisfaction if he inspires a similar thought in someone this evening.