Story by Bryan Edwards, Sports Editor
The Murray State football team hit the road for the first time this season, facing off against the Missouri State Bears with a chance to bounce back from the 41-13 loss to Central Arkansas last week.
Offensive execution was an issue for the Racers, as the Bears claimed a late fourth-quarter touchdown to take a 28-21 win over the Racers.
Head Coach Mitch Stewart said the offense needed to produce more to win the game.
“We continue to put ourselves behind the chains,” Stewart said. “Whether it be with false starts or whether it be with not getting off the sidelines, that’s on us and that’s unacceptable.”
Slow starts offensively hurt both teams. The Racers and Bears combined for 274 yards of total offense in the first half.
The quarterbacks did most of the work in the first half, recording 191 yards of offense in the first half. Junior quarterback Shuler Bentley recorded 20 completions off of 27 attempts for 103 yards, playing in very limited minutes on the day. Racer Freshman quarterback Corey Newble recorded the bulk of the reps, throwing the lone touchdown of the first half for the team with a jumping throw to sophomore wide receiver Tyre Gray.
The Missouri State offense only mustered four first downs in the first half, helping the Racers get their first points when sophomore quarterback Peyton Huslig threw an interception to senior defensive back D’Montre Wade on the Bears’ first drive. The error led to junior kicker Gabriel Vicente knocking down a field goal in the first quarter.
The Racers went into the locker room up 10-7 after Huslig found senior receiver Malik Earl in the end zone on a 35-yard pass.
The second half saw much more action from both teams. Missouri State opened the second half with a quick touchdown drive, and the Murray State offense stalled for the majority of the third quarter.
It wasn’t until Murray State ran a drive with Newble in command that a spark was created. Newble led the Racers on an eight-play, 75 yard drive for a TD, capped off with a 33-yard touchdown from Newble to senior receiver Jordon Gandy.
Stewart said the change to Newble was because of the hot hand he had.
“He was the one that was making plays,” Stewart said. “Corey at least gave us a chance to get out of bad situations.”
On the Bears’ first drive during the fourth quarter, Wade struck again with another interception. The following Racer drive, however, ended in a field goal to even the game at 21.
The Bears struck the final blow when senior running back Calan Crowder ran in for a two-yard TD. Crowder finished with over 100 yards rushing for the afternoon.
The Racers’ final drive was stopped when a Newble pass was intercepted with 40 seconds remaining in the game as he was attempting to lead his team on a game-tying drive
The loss moves the Racers to 1-2 on the season. They will return back to Roy Stewart Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 when the Austin Peay Governors come to Murray for family weekend.