Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff writer
Coming off back-to-back road losses to FBS opponents, the Racers are ready to kick off their conference campaign against Tennessee Tech at 6 p.m. Saturday at Roy Stewart Stadium.
“It sure is good to watch some film with some OVC ball on it,” Head Coach Mitch Stewart said. “Get out of watching three-star athletes and all of these big, tall, long, giraffe-looking guys running all over the field. It’s good to see some new film and some like talent on the video.”
The big, tall, long players include the Northern Illinois University Huskies and the Western Michigan Broncos, who the Racers fell to 52-20 Sept. 19 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Racers couldn’t match a strong Bronco offense, but individuals continued to shine in their respective positions as the team put forth an unyielding effort. Senior Jeremy Harness continued his streak of receiving over 100 yards in each game, while junior running back Roman Clay scored the Racers’ only rushing touchdown of the game from three yards out.
Senior quarterback KD Humphries found senior receiver Janawski Davis to stay in the game with a score of 10-6 toward the end of the second quarter before the Broncos began to pull away for the remainder of the game.
Senior linebacker Joey Cicoria and redshirt sophomore running back Demetric Johnson both recovered fumbles during the game, one of which was forced by redshirt freshman corner DeAndre Cooper.
Redshirt freshman punter Landon Stratton also began to shine as he averaged over 40 yards for the first time this year, earning the honor of OVC Specialist of the Week from the league’s sports information directors.
“My warm-up was probably the worst I’ve ever had,” Stratton said. “Just wasn’t feeling anything. I went back to the locker room, got my mind right, got stretched again, and just let everything happen. First punt, once I got onto the field, as soon as I hit it I was like, man, it’s really going to be a good night.”
Moving forward, the Racers will face the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles during Murray State’s Family Weekend festivities.
So far this season, the Golden Eagles lost to the University of Houston and Wofford College on the road coming from behind to beat Mercer University 29-22 at home Saturday.
Stewart is proud of his team thus far this season, but has left the FBS opponents behind and is now in pursuit of the conference title.
“That was two weeks of tough football,” Stewart said. “Those were two very good teams. I appreciate the efforts and the preparation these first three weeks, but the fact of the matter is none of that matters now. We’re 0-0.”
Murray State is ranked fourth in the league, while Tennessee Tech sits on the standing board at sixth with redshirt junior Krys Cates sporting the current OVC Offensive Player of the Week title. Last season, the Racers lost to Tennessee Tech 30-27 in Cookeville, Tennessee, just two weeks into conference play. Despite rankings and the opportunity for revenge, the team is determined to prepare and play consistently at home.
“I think we’re just real excited to start conference play,” Cicoria said. “It doesn’t matter who our opponent is. We’re going to prepare the same way. Since it is OVC, you can feel the energy when you walk in the building. It’s nice when you get to dress in your own locker room. You don’t have to stay in a hotel. You get to come to the stadium where you always do business – you’re familiar with this place.”
In addition to OVCDigitalNetwork.com and Froggy 103.7, Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network, which can be tuned into locally by WDKA’s MyNetworkTV channel 49.