Racers look to bounce back against Tennessee Tech

The Racers celebrate after James Sappington catches the ball for a touchdown during Homecoming Weekend. (Jillian Rush/TheNews)

Nick Kendall

Staff Writer 

nkendall1@murraystate.edu

After its second straight loss, Murray State football looks to get back in the win column when they head home for a matchup with the Tennessee Tech University Golden Eagles. 

On Saturday, Oct. 16, the Racers kept up with the No. 21 ranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks, but their comeback attempt fell short 14-12.

Murray State didn’t score until late in the third quarter on a two-yard rush from redshirt sophomore quarterback Preston Rice.

Nearly halfway through the fourth quarter, redshirt senior defensive back T.J. Warren forced a safety. 

After getting the ball back, freshman kicker Zaden Webber completed a 53-yard field goal—the longest of his career—putting the Racers in a position to win.

With six seconds left in the game, Webber attempted the game-winning field goal at about the same spot he had completed earlier, but he missed wide to the right.

Head Coach Mitch Stewart was not disappointed in the team’s effort, but knows something has to change.

“You have to be able to play well for four quarters and right now we just can’t put that together,” Stewart said. “Despite all of that, it does create something to build off of with the players. It creates a little bit of confidence.”

Just like the Racers, the Golden Eagles are coming off  a loss in the previous week. They fell to Austin Peay 58-21 in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Tennessee Tech answered first with an eight-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Bailey Fisher to freshman wide receiver Metrius Fleming for a touchdown.

However, the Governors  went on to outscore the Golden Eagles by 40 points heading into the half.

Austin Peay scored again in the third quarter on a 53-yard pass from junior quarterback JaVaughn Craig to sophomore wide receiver Baniko Harley. 

Both teams scored once in the fourth quarter. Craig completed a nine-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Geordon Pollard and Fisher connected on a 45-yard pass to freshman running back John Jones.

Last year, Tennessee Tech kept Murray State from the playoffs with a 27-24 victory in Cookeville, Tennessee. For Stewart and many returning players, this game will mean just a bit more to them.

“A lot of those guys in the locker room were guys who were here last year when there’s no secret we did not play a good game last year against those guys,” Stewart said. “It’s got a little of a motivational kick.” 

Murray State will look to come out on top against Tennessee Tech for the first time since Nov. 11, 2017, when they defeated the Golden Eagles 31-21. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Roy Stewart Stadium.