After a gut-wrenching 50–49 overtime loss to the Eastern Illinois Panthers Sept. 22, the Racers knew they had to respond Saturday in order to keep their OVC title hopes alive.
Respond, they did.
The Racers never let off the gas in this one, preventing any and all comeback efforts mounted by the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles en route to a 70–35 thrashing in front of a large family weekend crowd.
When the clock hit 00, Murray State had scored not just offensively, but also on defense and special teams for one of the most well-rounded and efficient performances of their season.
The offense didn’t punt the entire first half, scoring 35 unanswered points between the first and second quarter after Golden Eagles senior quarterback Tre Lamb hit sophomore wide receiver Cody Matthews on an 18-yard slant to knot the game up early at 7–7.
Senior Walter Powell, who is quietly having one of the best seasons at wide receiver for the Racers, finished the first half with seven catches for 140 receiving yards and a touchdown, propelling the Racers to a 49–21 halftime lead.
Coupled along with a 34-yard kick return and his 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, Powell finished the game with 10 catches for 162 yards receiving and nearly 300 all-purpose yards. Through five games, the 6’0” junior from
St. Louis, Mo., has 51 catches and 544 receiving yards.
The highly-touted Tennessee Tech standout and SEC transfer wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who torched SEMO with 18 catches for 303 yards just two weekends ago, was blanketed the entire game and couldn’t get separation, finishing with an insignificant five catches for 58 yards.
It was Powell, however, who had the last laugh when all was said and done.
“I just put in a lot of hard work this week; especially because I’m thinking about how hard he is working,” Powell said. “So I’m trying to outwork him all week, and it paid off as you can see a difference.”
Senior quarterback Casey Brockman was steady all night behind a stout offensive line, tossing for 381 yards on 32-of-38 passing with two touchdowns and a rushing score.
While the Racer offensive line is ranked 120th in the FCS in sacks allowed, Brockman was only thrown to the turf once, seemingly having plenty of time to find open receivers.
It certainly didn’t stop there, as the Racer running game looked as good as it has all season, finishing with 211 yards rushing and six touchdowns behind workhorse efforts from junior running back Jaamal Berry and senior running back Duane Brady.
Head Coach Chris Hatcher credited his coaching staff for the win, citing hard work and preparation throughout the week. The effort put
into preparing all week, Hatcher said, made the staff’s game plan a reality.
“We scored the most points we have all season,” Hatcher said. “The big thing was we had a lot of explosive plays, a lot of big plays, and that’s something we haven’t had this season. We’ve run a lot of plays and we’ve scored a lot of points, but it seems like we’ve had to just grind them out. I’m just proud of our guys because last week might have been one of the toughest losses in a long time, and for our guys to come out and play like they did just makes me proud of them.”
Next up for the Racers are the winless Austin Peay State Governors, who are 0-5 on the season after dropping a 65-15 decision to Eastern Illinois last Saturday. Kickoff is 6 p.m. this Saturday at Governor’s Stadium in Clarksville, Tenn.
Edward Marlowe, Staff Writer