Racers take on OVC leading SEMO in 2019 finale

Senior wide receiver Jonathan Moss is tackled after making a catch against Austin Peay. (Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics)

Nick Kendall

Staff Writer

nkendall1@murraystate.edu

Murray State football will take on No. 15 Southeast Missouri State University to close out the 2019 season.

The Redhawks are coming off a 26-12 win against Eastern Illinois University and are currently tied for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with Austin Peay State University.

After trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, SEMO, trying not to get upset late in the season, held the Panthers scoreless in the second.

Then the Redhawks scored thirteen unanswered and held Eastern Illinois to five points for the rest of the game.

The Racers’ last home game saw a 42-7 blowout win for the Governors. Murray State only trailed 14-0 at the half but tough defensive plays by Austin Peay led to turnovers that kept the Racers out of the game. 

Murray State began to make a comeback effort when they scored in the third quarter on a 27-yard pass from redshirt freshman Preston Rice to senior wide receiver Jonathan Moss. Their hopes were crushed after the Governors scored three more times in the fourth quarter.

The Racers only managed to put up 39 rushing yards for the whole game and went 5-17 on third down conversions and 0-3 on fourth down conversions. The defensive game was solid for the most part as redshirt senior T.J. Warren finished the game with the most tackles with 12 and had one of the three interceptions Murray State grabbed.

Head Coach Mitch Stewart knows the offense needs to step it up if they want a chance at victory against the best team in the OVC.

“We gotta be better offensively,” Stewart said. “We gotta be able to put points on the board. All other areas of our football team right now play good enough to win, especially our special teams. We gotta get a run and attack [game] established.”

Even as one of the best defenses in the conference, the Racers will be put to the test in their matchup against SEMO. The Redhawks average just about 30 points per game and give up 25. 

SEMO is looking to get revenge on the Racers, after Malik Honeycutt returned a 79-yard kick to cap off a 40-38 comeback win last season at Roy Stewart Stadium which fans call the “miracle in Murray.”

The Racers have been through some tough situations that didn’t end as they expected but Stewart lets his guys know that strong football teams stick together to close out the season with a win.

“It’s all about the team,” Stewart said. “You have to be unbreakable and when you get in those bad moments and things start getting tough, instead of pointing fingers at one another, you wrap your arms around one another; you encourage one another.”

The Racers close the season at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Houck Stadium in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.