Football looks to grab first OVC win at home

Junior running back Rodney Castille surveys the field while taking off toward the endzone. (Photo by Lauren Morgan/TheNews)

Nick Kendall

Staff Writer

Murray State football returns to the bluegrass state for a cat fight with the Eastern Illinois University Panthers.

Murray State is coming off a 40-7 blowout loss to UT-Martin. The Racers couldn’t get anything going offensively or defensively as the Skyhawks were able to score 13 points on four fumbles and an interception.

Head Coach Mitch Stewart blames himself for last Saturday’s loss because he didn’t hold his team to the high standard he set for them.

“We’re going to become a disciplined football team,” Stewart said. “I’ve been called a lot of things on some teams but undisciplined has never been one of them and the other night, we were very undisciplined. While that hurt my feelings, that really sticks me hard, but it’s very truthful. We’re going to own up to it and we’re going to fix it.”

For Stewart, it’s about earning and protecting a brand for the football team.

“Confidence over entitlement,” Stewart said. “You’re not entitled to a brand because you played one game a certain way, you have to earn that brand of ball over a period of time and I think we’re the same football team, we had the pain of regret. We showed up to an opportunity and we did not protect our brand, we did not continue to develop our brand as a football team. We weren’t prepared to go fight for that brand the other night.”

The Racers have lost seven of their last 10 meetings with the Panthers but emerged victorious last year with a 48-41 victory in Charleston, Illinois.

After a 3-8 finish last year, the Panthers finished seventh in the conference. They are  expected to finish eighth in the OVC preseason poll, three spots below the Racers, who finished fourth with a 5-6 record last year.

With only one conference game played, the Racers and Panthers are part of a four-way tie for last place.

The Panthers have yet to win a game after coming off a 40-29 loss to Tennessee Tech making it their fifth-straight loss.

Murray State will kick-off its third OVC game of the season at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Roy Stewart Stadium.