Story by Quinnen Taylor, contributing writer
The Murray State football team had its fifth loss of the season Saturday against the UT Martin Skyhawks with a final score of 38-31.
The loss pushed the Racers’ record to 1-5, making for their third consecutive loss at home.
The first half was a back-and-forth contest with a total of four lead changes.
In the first quarter, the Skyhawks got off to an early 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal from junior kicker Mitch Mersman at the 11:53 mark.
The Racers responded with a 2-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback KD Humphries to junior wide receiver Jordon Gandy to make it 7-3 with 8:05 left in the quarter.
The Skyhawks rallied with two touchdowns, one from senior wide receiver Ben Axline, who caught a 4-yard pass from junior quarterback Troy Cook at the 3:06 mark. Then, junior safety Tae Martin intercepted a Humphries pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to put UT Martin in the lead 17-7.
Another field goal by Mersman made it a 20-7 margin to end of the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Racers chipped into the 13-point deficit with a touchdown off a 65-yard rush by freshman running back Mareio McGraw and a touchdown by a 23-yard pass from Humphries to Jonathan Moss to make it 21-20 at the 6:15 mark.
UT Martin answered with a touchdown conversion at the 3:17 mark off Cook’s 11-yard pass to junior wide receiver Caylon Weathers.
The second half began with a battle on the defensive end, as both teams were held scoreless in the third quarter.
Mersman ended the scoring drought at the start of the fourth quarter with a 37-yard field goal attempt, increasing the Skyhawks lead to 30-21.
Murray State responded with a touchdown from a 23-yard pass caught by senior wide receiver Jesse Blackburn to cut the deficit to 30-28.
The Racers answered soon after with a 50-yard field goal drilled by senior kicker Connor Mitchell to give the Racers a 31-30 lead with 10:06 left in the fourth.
However, in just 10 seconds, the Skyhawks took back the lead 38-31 with a 75-yard pass snagged by senior wide receiver Greg McKillion for the touchdown and a two-point conversion completed by sophomore running back Jaimiee Bowe at the 9:56 mark.
Humphries ended with 23 pass completions out of 44 attempts to go with 248 passing yards.
Troy finished with 21 completions out of his 38 attempts on 317 passing yards.
The Racers’ next contest will be 3 p.m. Oct. 22 at Eastern Illinois.