Freshman wide receiver DeQavius Walker made his first college start a memorable one for all in attendance Saturday at Roy Stewart Stadium as he returned Kentucky Wesleyan College’s opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and helped one lucky fan win $10,000 from Parker Ford.
“I was just thinking all week, ‘Be humble, and when your time comes, be prepared, follow your block, do what you’re coached to do all week,’” Walker said. “And the guys, they was kind of rooting for me when I got out there because the lady was going to get a reward if I returned it. Everything just fell in place.”
Amy Pervine of Murray was the lucky recipient of the cash in from Parker Ford’s “Return for Riches” promotion. Walker also became the first Racer to return a kickoff for a touchdown since Walter Powell’s return during the 2013 game against Missouri State.
“I was like, man, this is crazy,” Walker said. “God just blessed her and me; me for scoring the touchdown, and her for winning the money.”
The return team continued to dominate against Kentucky Wesleyan as junior wide receiver Janawski Davis returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Junior runningback Pokey Harris followed suit, returning the second kickoff for a touchdown just six minutes into the second half.
Sophomore runningback Marcus Holliday started the second quarter scoring with a five-yard rushing touchdown less than two minutes in, but Kentucky Wesleyan quickly returned the favor. Freshman runningback David White carried the ball just one yard to the endzone to cut the lead to 34-16.
The Racers were relentless in the second half as they tallied seven unanswered scoring plays, including two rushing touchdowns by redshirt sophomore quarterback K.D. Humphries and both a 40-yard touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown by Holliday. Junior kicker Carson Greifenkamp kicked a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, the only score that didn’t come from a touchdown during the sweep.
The Racer offense was nearly perfect as it scored on 13 of 16 drives during the game and set a new single-game scoring school record Saturday.
“Offense played great tonight; I’ve got to give it to them,” said senior defensive lineman Feltin Collins. “And also special teams. They give us extra time to think about, talk about what we’ve got to do on the sideline on the defensive side of the ball. But they played good and I thank them for that. Just put the ball in the endzone, and they did that tonight. I’m proud of it. We played together as a team.”
It was a joint team effort indeed, as Collins also added impressive statistics to the game. He racked up seven tackles in the game, including two sacks for a total loss of 16 yards in addition to blocking two of the Panthers’ extra point attempts.
Sophomore standout linebacker Jonathan Jackson and freshman lineman Bishop Woods also had seven tackles in the game, having 0.5 and 1.5 for loss, respectively.
Second string got a chance to shine late in the game as the Racers ran up the score. Senior quarterback C.J. Bennett entered the game for Humphries in the fourth quarter and got a touchdown of his own less than two minutes in.
Freshman runningback Nick Taylor also recorded a 37-yard rushing touchdown to increase the score to the final of 86-29.
Collins said he thought this big win was a good start for the Racers to get out of their recent slump. Head Coach Chris Hatcher said he also saw improvement in his team.
“I thought we played well in a lot of phases,” Hatcher said. “I thought we had a couple lapses there in the second quarter. The game was a little closer at halftime than maybe we had all hoped for, but we did what we were supposed to do. We beat an opponent that we were better than, and we beat them soundly. Sometimes that’s a mark of a team that is improving.”
Murray State returns to conference play Saturday against UT Martin. The Racers kick off at 1 p.m. at Roy Stewart Stadium.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor