Story by Mark McFarland, Sports Editor
Murray State starts its season 0-1 after a 52-3 loss to Big Ten opponent University of Illinois.
The Racers couldn’t get anything going early as senior quarterback KD Humphries threw his first interception of the season on the first drive of the year. Illinois would then score on its first drive and take a 7-0 lead.
The Racers defense could not handle the Fighting Illini attack as they gave up 14 points in the first quarter and 21 points in the second quarter. Illinois took a 35-3 lead at halftime after a field goal from Racer kicker redshirt senior Connor Mitchell.
In the second half, the Racers left off where they began as the Fighting Illini defense held Murray State scoreless the rest of the game. The Racers’ defense stepped up in the second half, allowing 17 points in the final two quarters.
Humphries ended the game 18-31, 163 yards and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Jesse Blackburn caught the ball four times for 48 yards, averaging 12 yards per catch to lead the Racers. Redshirt junior running back Mark Dodson II ran the ball four times for 16 yards to lead the Racers’ rushing attack. The Racers finished with 165 yards of total offense, while Illinois finished with 515 yards of total offense.
Murray State will host Missouri State at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at Stewart Stadium. The Bears will come into the game 1-0 after a 57-0 victory over Southwestern (Kansas) College Sept. 1. The Racers will look for their first win after falling to Illinois.