Records set, Racers win home opener

Over 10,000 fans packed in for the home debut of Murray State Racer Football when Murray State beat Tennessee State 58-27.
“Our guys came out with a great excitement,” Coach Hatcher said in a press conference after the game. “We really started fast and I think that got Tennessee State out of their game plan a little bit.”
The team showcased a prolific passing attack and contained the Tigers run and passing game early into the contest.
Casey Brockman brought on an aerial display throwing for 422 yards and five touchdowns by halftime, topping his record of 337 yards against Missouri State in last year’s homecoming game.
When the final horn sounded, Brockman had torched TSU’s defense with 600 yards passing and seven touchdowns on 45 completions. He rushed eight times for 31 yards, extending several plays and allowing receivers to get open against a soft zone coverage.
Coach Hatcher showered Brockman with praise after the game.
“The number one thing tonight was Brockman was able to extend plays with his feet,” Hatcher said. “He was able to scramble and make throws on the run make big third down conversions. That’s something he hadn’t gotten done in the first two ballgames.”
Brockman caught a 15 yard pass from Ricky Mitchell on a trick play and his 45 completions, 67 attempts and eight total touchdowns set new Murray State records.
Tennessee State tried to pass early against a Murray State defense prepared for a brutal rushing attack. The secondary, however, didn’t bite and forced six consecutive incompletions.
On Murray State’s first possession, Brockman led the offense deep into TSU territory but couldn’t convert a third down in the redzone, and the offense settled for a 20 yard field goal.
On Murray State’s second drive, Brockman was intercepted and it looked like Tennessee State was going to capitalize on the early turnover. However, the defense didn’t relent and stopped a run and sacked the quarterback on third down.
TSU attempted to tie the game with a 48 yard field goal, but special teams came through the line and blocked the field goal.
“When the defense stood up at the goal-line and pushed them back and we blocked that field goal, I think their wheels fell off,” Brockman said. “After that stop, we just kind of hit our stride and played really well.”
The key play for Murray State came late in the first quarter on fourth and one from the TSU 34. Instead of kicking a long field goal or opting to corner coffin a punt, Hatcher gave the ball to Brockman and called Walter Powell’s number.
Powell turned a short slant into a 34 yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead. From then on, Brockman and the offense stayed on the same page and the rout was on.
Murray State outgained TSU 241-22 in offensive yards in the first quarter and held TSU in check the entire first half, allowing only 189 yards on 40 plays. By then Murray State had built a 44-17 lead.
One of Brockman’s top targets was specialist and wide receiver Patrick Robertson. Robertson caught seven catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns and finished with 87 return yards, good for 202 all purpose yards.
“We practiced really hard this week,” Robertson said. “We gave it our all and it showed on the field today.”
For all of the offensive prowess displayed on the field, the defense deserves credit for the fast offensive start. Defense had seven tackles for a loss, three quarterback sacks and five pass deflections.
“We do what we do best,” Hatcher said. “We moved their front and we had some good blitzes dialed up. They showed some sets with three tight ends we‘d never seen before and it‘s hard to prepare for that. But all in all we played pretty good defense for the third straight week.”
Murray State (2-1) won’t have much turnaround this week as they play at 6 p.m. Thursday at University of Tennessee at Martin.

Contact Ed Marlowe