It was a crisp, cool night at Graham Stadium in Martin, Tenn., Thursday night and the Racers were dealt a cold serving of defeat by the UT-Martin Skyhawks who dominated the 48-26 game.
Less than three minutes into the first quarter the Skyhawks lit up the score board with an 11-yard touchdown by Jason McNair and never looked back.
The next 15 minutes showcased a highly-aggressive UT-Martin team rushing for 161 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Murray State’s Patrick Robertson and Lamar Hall were helped off the field after rough encounters with the Skyhawks.
Officials’ flags were thrown more than the football in the first quarter as the Racers racked up four penalties for 50 yards. In the second quarter, Murray State answered the Skyhawks’ call with their first touchdown of the night delivered by runningback Mike Harris. Kienen Cullen’s field goal attempt bounced off the goal post making the score 28-6 with 11:35 minutes left on the clock.
Six minutes later Cullen redeemed himself with a 31-yard field goal lessening UT-Martin’s lead to 28-9, a much different score than last year’s meeting with the Skyhawks when Murray State won 52-16.
Despite playing amid a sea of orange, flecks of gold shone through the game as a surge of adrenaline, Racer quarterback Casey Brockman outran Harris and blocked for him for close to 40 yards.
In the second half the Racers responded with more precision including two field goals, a Duane Brady 98-yard kickoff return touchdown and a Brockman to Dexter Durrante touchdown pass, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to UT-Martin’s lead.
Even though 13 incomplete passes and eight penalties from the Skyhawks were on the Racers’ side, the fatigued team, coming off four days rest, couldn’t match the energy of the 12-day rested Skyhawks.
Coach Chris Hatcher said UT-Martin dominated his team in what he deemed a frustrating night for the Racers.
“Well, we just got whooped, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “It’s hard to give the other team credit but they were well prepared and came out with great intensity and put it to us. I thought that after the initial barrage they threw at us we settled down some and got some good stops but offensively we couldn’t match them score for score.”
The Racers now turn their focus to preparation for the undefeated Jacksonville State which will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at Roy Stewart Stadium.