Assistant Sports Editor
In front of 46,157 red shirt-wearing Cardinal fans the Racers opened their football season Thursday night against the University of Louisville.
Murray State won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball, hoping to get on the board first. The first five minutes were a back-and-forth defensive battle with many offensive mistakes on both sides of the ball. It looked as if Louisville would take charge of the game when Cardinal punter Chris Philpott faked a punt and ran for a 40- yard first down putting the Cardinals on the Murray State 15-yard line.
Just as it seemed the Cardinals were going to strike first, Louisville running back Jeremy Wright fumbled and Racers defender Richard Biers recovered.
Murray State would shortly give possession back to the Cardinals after going nowhere on offense for the second time.
Louisville quarterback Will Stein would then find his rhythm and drive the Cardinals all the way down to the Murray State 4-yard line. Stein then threw his first touchdown of the season when he hit Scott Radcliff on a 4-yard pass.
The Racers struggled to gain momentum in the first quarter.
Quarterback Casey Brockman ended the first with only one completed pass out of 11 attempts while running back Mike Harris was running well but never got in position to score.
With less than four minutes left in the first quarter, Louisville running back Victor Anderson scored on a 2-yard run making the score 14-0 after the extra point was made.
It was Anderson’s first touchdown since Oct. 17, 2009.
The Racers seemed to pick up the pace in the second quarter, but couldn’t stop Stein from throwing his second touchdown of the night when he hit Anderson for a 39-yard pass. The pass was Anderson’s second touchdown of the night and made the score 21-0 for the Cardinals.
Brockman seemed to slowly find his comfort zone by running the ball for 20 yards and completing five passes while Harris carried the Racers by rushing 16 times for 71 yards.
With three seconds left in the first half senior kicker Kienan Cullen capitalized on Harris’ efforts by booting in a 30-yard field goal to make the score 21-3.
The Racers came out with a fire in their eyes in the second half forcing Louisville to punt on its first two possessions.
However, Murray State still couldn’t get things going on the offensive side of the ball through the third quarter.
Cullen punted the ball three times through a scoreless third quarter while the defense forced Louisville to punt twice.
One minute into the fourth quarter the Racers finally found the end zone through the legs of Harris.
Harris broke away for a 22-yard run to make the score 21-9 Louisville. That would be the lone touchdown of the night for the Racers.
Brockman had an unimpressive performance and the offense couldn’t seem to make things click. However, Racer defense is something to excite fans.
Murray State held Louisville to only 21 points and completely shut out the Cardinals in the second half. Julian Whitehead and Sam Small led the Racer defense totaling a combined 15 tackles.
“I was real proud of our team,” Hatcher said. “You play a Big East team 21-9, you beat them in the second half, again, no consolation but our boys really played hard and I think if we make the corrections I noted throughout the course of the game, we have a chance to have a pretty good football team.”