Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
No. 24 Eastern Kentucky defeated Murray State 41-34 in double overtime Saturday for the Racers last home game.
Murray State came into the game looking to win their second consecutive game after beating Tennessee State Nov. 7 46-43 in overtime.
The Racers got off to a good start after a 31 yard rush from Roman Clay, junior from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to put the Racers up 7-3 with 6:54 left in the first quarter. However the lead would not last as EKU scored off of a pass play from Bennie Coney to Jeff Glover, on the last play of the quarter, giving EKU the 10-7 lead.
The Racers gave up another 10 points, but could not get going offensively. Paul Rice, senior from St. Louis, Missouri, said the offense came out flat in the first half.
“The first half we came out flat. Going into the second half we didn’t need to make too many adjustments, just had to go in the locker room and get everybody fired up,” Rice said.
The first half was dominated by EKU, totaling 314 yards of total offense on 67 offensive plays. The Racers finished the half with 100 yards on 25 plays. Cooney finished the first half with 214 yards passing for EKU, while KD Humphries, redshirt junior from Montgomery, Alabama, only had 50 passing yards to end the half.
Murray State would turn its fortune around in the third quarter scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter. The first coming off a pass from Humphries to Jeremy Harness, senior from Radcliffe, Kentucky, for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 13:18 left in the third quarter. Rice caught a pass from Humphries, this time for 51 yards for a touchdown. Connor Mitchell, senior from Franklin, Tennessee, made a 41-yard field goal with 3:41 to play in the third quarter to send the game to the fourth quarter. Head Coach Mitch Stewart liked his team’s offensive presence in the second half.
“The offensive started coming alive, started making some conversions and moving the football,” Stewart said.
The game headed to overtime tied at 27, where both teams were able to put drives together and score touchdowns. The second overtime, however, did not turn out as well as it did for EKU as the Colonels scored on a one yard run from Kentayvus Hopkins to give EKU the lead. The Racers tried a trick play that ended up in an interception being thrown by Jesse Blackburn, junior from Gardendale Alabama, to end the game 41-34. Stewart said he was upset about that play call.
“It was a stupid decision by me,” Stewart said.
The Racers ended the game with 426 total yards with 319 of them through the air. Rice said he was happy we how the guys fought and saw how much closer that game brought everyone.
“When we got back in the locker room after the game it’s all love,” Rice said. “Everyone knew that we fought.”
Murray State plays next Saturday at 1 p.m. at No. 1 Jacksonville State. Rice said the team is well prepared and wants to finish the season strong on the road against the No. 1 team in the country.