Photo Credits: Dave Winder
Down 34-10 in the third quarter, the Murray State football team scored the last 17 points of Saturday’s homecoming game at Roy Stewart Stadium. However, an interception in the end zone by Eastern Kentucky with under 10 seconds remaining stopped Murray State from completing its comeback and gave the Colonels a 34-27 win.
The troubles for the Racers began in the first half when they had trouble generating offense. Murray State had just 187 yards in the first half, including just 26 rushing. The Racers also had penalty troubles in the first two quarters, getting flagged six times for a total of 38 yards. Despite its struggles, Murray State entered the locker room only trailing by only one score, 17-10.
In the third quarter, however, things begin to get away from the Racers as the Colonels’ Alonzo Booth scored twice in the early part of the stanza. First, on a long drive to start the quarter, then again on their next offensive possession after the intercepting MSU’s Preston Rice on defense. Eastern Kentucky then added a 36-yard field goal from Sam Hayworth later in the quarter to put the Racers in a 34-10 hole.
n the final minutes of the third, the Racer offense finally struck back on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard pass from Preston Rice to Ty Terrell for the score. Minutes later Kendrick Catis intercepted EKU’s Parker McKinney on the first play of the fourth quarter and returned the ball 56 for the pick-6 to pull the Racers within 10 at 34-24.
On the ensuing EKU possession, Murray State held the Colonels to three-and-out, giving its offense the ball back on its own 44 yard-line after the punt. The Racers then took the ball 43 yards down the field to one yard-line, where Zaden Webber chipped in his second field goal of the day from 19 yards out to make it 34-27.
Unfortunately, the Racers were unable to keep up the fast-paced scoring as both of their next two possessions stalled out. However, the Murray State defense came up big once again and held EKU to another three-and-out, giving the Racers back the ball with 1:32 to play.
On the final drive of the game for Murray State, Rice completed two big passes before converting a huge fourth-down play from the EKU 35 yard-line with a 19-yard pass to LaMartez Brooks, who scooted out of bounds to stop the clock. After another first down pass by Rice, the Racers looked poised to equalize only to have the ball intercepted by Frank Sumpter.
Preston Rice finished the game completing 39 of 58 passes for 373 yard with two touchdowns and three interceptions, while LaMartez Brooks had 12 catches for a career-best 154 yards. Defensively, Anthony Koclanakis had a game-high 10 tackles, while Scotty Humpich had eight tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss for a total of 11 yards and three quarterback hurries.
The Racers will look to bounce back from the loss next Saturday when they travel to Jacksonville State to take on the Gamecocks in the OVC Game of the Week on ESPN3 at 3 p.m.