Story by Collin Morris, contributing writer
Murray State football upset No. 15 Eastern Illinois Saturday with a final score of 40-38, earning the Racers their second straight win and a 2-5 record on the year.
The game began with an early lead for the Panthers, finishing the first quarter with a 21-3 lead behind two touchdowns from their senior running back Devin Church. The Racers went on to shutout Eastern Illinois in the second quarter with score 13 points of their own, setting the score 21-16 (Panthers up) going into the half.
Coming out of halftime, the two teams then held one another to only three field goals in the third quarter. Connor Mitchell, redshirt senior kicker, hit scored field goals — one from the 49-yard line — while Eastern Illinois’ junior kicker Nick Bruno hit one from 40 yards out. The Panthers were up 24-22 going into the fourth quarter.
After an early Eastern Illinois rushing touchdown, senior receiver Jesse Blackburn began a fourth quarter drive of three straight scores for the Racers with his 87-yard run off a pass from redshirt senior quarterback KD Humphries breaking two tackles on his way to the end zone and putting them down by two points. The pass marks the longest pass and reception in the senior tandem’s four-year career together.
Murray State won the game after a defensive stop led to freshman receiver Mareio McGraw following up with his own 77-yard touchdown run. Mitchell then scored a 29-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining to put the Racers up 40-31. The Panthers followed up with a touchdown of their own with less than a minute remaining to bring the game to its final score of 40-38.
In addition to the team’s win, Humphries also moved into third All Time for OVC career passing yards – reaching 9,068 against Eastern Illinois. Humphries now sits only behind current New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Murray State alumnus Casey Brockman.
The Racers’ next game will take place at 3 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Roy Stewart Stadium as they take face OVC opponent Tennessee State for Homecoming.