Date (Time): Aug. 30 (6 p.m.)
Opponent: Murray, Ky. (Roy Stewart Stadium)
Audio: Froggy 103.7 FM (PxP: Neal Bradley; Color: Josh McKeel)
Web Stream: ESPN+
Live Stats: GoRacers.com
Twitter In Game: @RacersFootball
MUR Record (Streak): 0-0 (—)
SIU Record (Streak): 0-0 (—)
All-Time Series vs. SIU (Streak): MUR leads 10-9-2 (Lost 2)
First Meeting: Won 6-3 (Sep. 30, 1927 in Murray, Ky.)
Last Meeting: Lost 17-50 (Sep 17, 2016 in Carbondale, Ill.)
MUR Next Game: Sep. 8 at #16 Central Arkansas
MUR Next Home Game: Sep. 29 vs. UT Martin
The Murray State football team will kick off its 2018 campaign with regional rival Southern Illinois. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be brought to you by the “Voice of the Racers” Neal Bradley and Josh McKeel on Froggy 103.7 FM and on ESPN+.
Thursday night is expected to be great weather with a high of 69 F and just an 11-percent chance of rain. While there may be thunderstorms earlier in the day, they should be cleared out by kickoff. Winds will also be low at 4-6 mph.
Last Time Out
The Murray State football team went 3-8 last season and 2-5 in OVC play. The season included an upset win of then 25th-ranked UT Martin that was sealed with a field goal by Gabriel Vicente as time expired. Following the season, wide receiver Jordon Gandy and defensive back D’Montre Wade were selected as first-team All-OVC, while Gabriel Vicente made the second team. In addition, Vicente and quarterback Shuler Bentley were named to the All-Newcomer team. Wade went on to earn a trip to the Senior Bowl and was named as Murray State’s 42nd All-American, while Gandy participated in the NFLPA Bowl. In other awards, Zach Shipley became MSU’s first football Google Cloud Academic All-American in over 30 years, thanks in large part to his 3.97 GPA. In the spring, Wade received a free agent offer from the Kansas City Chiefs and continues to impress in their preseason games.
The Southern Illinois Series
After a convincing win in Carbondale two seasons ago, when the two teams met for the first time since 2003, Southern Illinois enters Thursday’s match up trailing the Racers by just one in the all-time series at 10-9-2. Both teams have performed exceptionally well in the series at home with the Salukis going 7-2-2 in Carbondale and the Racers posting an 8-2 mark in Murray.
Scouting The Salukis
The Salukis are coming off of a 4-7 campaign in 2017 and a eighth-place finish in the Missouri Valley Football Conference after going 2-6 in league play. The Salukis will enter the 2018 season with four Preseason All-MVFC selections including three first teamers. Wide receiver Darrel James caught 47 passes last season with eight touchdowns and is currently on a 17-game streak of having at least one catch. Safety Jeremy Chinn had the third most tackles on his team last season with 66, while punter Lane Reazin led the MVFC in punting average at 43.6 yard per kick.
Defensive end Anthony Knighton was named to the second team, after being named as a freshman All-America a year ago. Knighton led SIU in 2017 with 6.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. On average, the Salukis averaged 27.4 points per game, while allowing 27.5. Southern Illinois leaned toward the past last season, averaging 236.0 yards per game in the air, while gaining 163.9 yards per game on the ground.
Thursday will be the 94th home opener for Murray State. The Racers are currently 64-26-4 all-time in those games
Clear The Track
One of the greatest traditions in college football returns this season, as Racer 1 will once again make its way around the track after every Murray State touchdown. This year the horse, whose real name is Lobo, will be mounted by Jamie Wolzorn, an equine science major from California, Kentucky.
Out Of The Gates
As it begins its 94th season of football, Murray State is currently 51-39-4 all-time in season openers.
Defensive lineman Kenney Wooten and kicker Gabriel Vicente started the season off on a high-note by being named to the 2018 Preseason All-OVC Team. Wooten led the OVC with 10.0 sacks and was ninth in the FCS last season, while Vicente was 14-for-18 on field goal attempts including the first 50-plus yarder for a Racer since 2002.
As the year changes, so do the numbers. Several Racers will be wearing new numbers for the 2018 season.
Name Old # New #
Jensen Feggins 86 3
Gabriel Vicente 39 4
Kenney Wooten 30 4
Jason Johnson 16 5
Rajai Perkins 84 7
Corey Newble 18 8
DeQuan Dallas 85 17
Rodney Castille 89 18
Sylvaughn Turner 82 23
Marquez Sanford 6 34
Wallace McCoy 34 40
Wes Drewery 40 59
James Sappington 38 85
Silas Owens 46 87
Austin Hogancamp 37 94
A New Home
Fifteen of the new faces on the roster this came to MSU by way of transfer including three from FBS schools, one from an FCS school and 11 from junior colleges. This year’s transfers are:
Name Last School
Drew Anderson Buffalo
Kendrick Catis Washington St.
T.J. Warren Missouri
K.J. Presley Presbyterian
Justin Connor East Miss. CC
Dallas Danner Itawamba CC
Malik Honeycutt Itawamba CC
Dior Johnson Independence CC
Oistin Jones Mississippi Delta CC
Anthony Koclnakis Santa Ana
Brandon Legendre Santa Ana
Edmond McGhee DuPage
Matz Peters New Mexico Military
Quarderman Sloan Northwest Miss. CC
Tyler Walker Northwest Miss. CC
Head coach Mitch Stewart made several changes to his staff during the offseason with additions and promotions. A complete listing is below. An * denotes that staff member was at MSU last season, but received a new title.
Name Title (Pos)
Nick Coleman Offensive Coord. (QB)
Jake Johnson Defensive Coord. (LB)*
Brian Hamilton Asst. Head Coach (OL)*
Carson Hunter Recruiting Coord. (RB)*
Tate Omli Spec. Teams Coord. (SAF)
Charles Jones Asst. Coach (CB)
Alex Suber Asst. Coach (WR)
Walter Vaughnn Asst. Coach (DL
Grant Kimberlin Offensive GA
Brandon Corbin Equipment Mgr.
Vinnie Johnson Video Coord.
OK, What’s Next?
The Racers travel to the Natural State to take on 16th-ranked Central Arkansas in Conway. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
Courtesy of GoRacers.com