Story by Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor
Murray State football will look to enter their off-season with a two-game winning streak and a 4-7 record with a win at Southeast Missouri State on Saturday.
Awaiting the Racers is a SEMO team that is in a similar predicament in the latter part of the season. The Redhawks sit at 2-7 and are coming off of a 23-20 loss to Tennessee State last weekend. Their two wins came against OVC foes; a 31-3 win over Tennessee Tech and a 29-10 win over Eastern Kentucky—a team Murray State fell to 26-13.
The Redhawks’ two-year starting senior quarterback Jesse Hosket has had success against the Racers in recent years. Last year, Hosket led his team to a tight 17-16 victory over Murray State, while throwing for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
If Hosket hopes to have a repeat performance, he’ll have to do it against a Murray State squad that is coming off a 31-21 victory over Tennessee Tech. In that game, the Racer running backs ran for 167 rushing yards, a complete aberration from their usual play that has them ranked last in the OVC in rushing offense at 73.4 rushing yards per game.
Head Coach Mitch Stewart said his team completed the first step of their journey to end the season on a good note last Saturday, but in order to complete their mission, they’ll have to finish strong against SEMO.
“That was the first step in our two-part process and what we wanted to do to end the season,” Stewart said of the Racers’ win against Tennessee Tech. “We talked a lot about taking care of business last week to give us a chance to start a new streak and be 2-0. That’s our focus leading into this week against SEMO—a team we haven’t matched up well with in the past couple meetings. It always seems like it’s a game that comes down to the wire.”
Stewart is hoping for more of that action when they face SEMO. He said at this stage in the game, teams have to be prepared for anything.
“I think you go into games like this knowing that there’s no sense in holding anything back,” Stewart said.
The Racers will face their final test of the season at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.