Defense leads Racers to 28-23 victory over Missouri State

Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Murray State used a fourth-quarter touchdown to take the lead and a key Brandon Wicks interception as the Racers earned a hard-fought 28-23 road victory over Missouri State Saturday evening at Plaster Field.

With the Racers leading by five and just over six minutes remaining in the game, head coach Chris Hatcher rolled the dice and called a fake punt on 4th-and-6 at his own 16-yard line. The result of the play was a nine-yard run that resulted in a first down and resulted in another two minutes being eaten off the clock.

The Racers (1-2) were forced to punt and the Bears drove down the field, but were stopped on downs in the red zone. The Bears (0-3) had one final drive with just over a minute remaining. On the third play, Wicks made a leaping interception to seal the victory.

After a first quarter that was filled with punts, the Racers used a 12-play drive for the first points of the game. Brockman and Powell connected three times for 26 yards, and Berry picked up a first down with a 13-yard run as he bounced outside. Duane Brady followed with a nine-yard run down to the three and followed it up two plays later with a three-yard touchdown run.

The Bears attempted a fake punt in their own territory, but HB Beauford made the stop a yard shy of the first-down marker to give the ball to the Racers on the Bears 29-yard line.

Brockman started the drive with a six-yard pass to Walter Powell before a short gain from Brady. Jaamal Berry picked up the first down with a tough three-yard run. MUR faced another third down and Brockman pump faked, before hitting Nevar Griffin for a 16-yard touchdown.

The Bears took advantage of a pair of defensive penalties to score on a two-yard run from Vernon Scott.

The second half started with MOST taking the opening drive 72 yards on 10 plays, with Julian Burton catching a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ashton Glaser.

The Bears took their first lead of the game as they took advantage of a fumbled punt at the four-yard line for an Austin Witmer 22-yard field goal.

The Racers got the offense going on their next possession as Walter Powell sparked the offense with a 37-yard kickoff return. Seven-straight completions from set the Racers up at the Bear 15-yard line. Jordan Morrow went up the middle for four yards, and Brockman capped the 10-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

The back-and-forth affair continued on the next drive as the Bears used a 67-yard completion to set up Glaser’s six-yard TD run up the middle. Josh Manning kept the deficit at two as he came around the end and blocked the extra point.

The Racers had one last answer as Brockman found Griffin for 33 yards to get down to the Bears 28. On 3rd-and 9 at the 15-yard line, Brockman found Berry in the flat and he did the rest as he outran the defense and dove for the pylon for the 15-yard game-winning touchdown.

MUR finished the game by running 99 plays and gaining 399 yards of offense. Brockman finished by going 41-for-59 for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Powell was his main target as he caught a career-best 12 passes for 90 yards. Berry finished the game with 44 yards receiving on five catches, and eight carries for 41 yards.

Wicks led the Racer defense with 10 tackles and the key interception. Huzzie added eight tackles and a sack.

The Racers return to action next weekend as they travel to Eastern Illinois to open Ohio Valley Conference action. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen live on the Racer TV

Story courtesy of Sports Information