The Student Newspaper of Murray State

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Football picks up first conference win of season

Sophomore cornerback Marcis Floyd had two interceptions in the game against Tennessee Tech. Photo courtesy of Racer Athletic.

Jakob Milani
Sports Editor
[email protected]

The Murray State football team picked up its first conference win on Saturday, Nov. 6, when it defeated the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles by a score of 32-27.

Freshman running back Demonta Witherspoon rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown in the game. Sophomore cornerback Marcis Floyd had two interceptions and took one interception back for a touchdown. Floyd also tacked on seven tackles and a sack.

The Racers scored on their first drive with a 47-yard field goal from junior kicker Aaron Baum to put them up 3-0. The field goal was set up by a series of runs, including a 16-yard rush from freshman quarterback DJ Williams.

The Racers held the Golden Eagles to a punt on the following drive. This allowed Williams to go to work on offense as he threw a 32-yard pass to junior wide receiver LaMartez Brooks. The pass set up a three yard touchdown rush from Witherspoon to give the Racers a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Willie Miller had an answer for the Racers’ defense on the Golden Eagles’ second drive as he threw a 26-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Quiton Cross on their second play. 

Junior running back David Gist did the rest of the work on the drive, first with a 20-yard rush, then with a six-yard touchdown run to close the lead to three at the end of the quarter. The Racers led the Golden Eagles 10-7 heading into the second quarter.

Williams fired back at the Golden Eagles on the next drive with a 20-yard rush to start the drive, then with a 10-yard pass to freshman tight-end Jake Saathoff. The pass set up a six-yard touchdown rush from Williams to put the Racers up 17-7.

Miller opened the Golden Eagles’ next drive with an 18-yard pass to Cross to gain some yardage. The next time Miller dropped back to pass, he chucked the ball downfield right into the arm of Floyd who returned the interception 90 yards for a touchdown for the Racers. This gave Murray State a 24-7 lead.

Floyd spoke after the game about his pick-six in the second quarter. He gave a lot of credit to his fellow players who helped him get to the end zone.

“When I got the ball, all I saw was great blocks and green grass,” Floyd said. “I got to see myself run on the big screen for the first time so that was exciting.”

After the two teams traded punts with one-another, the Golden Eagles started to put together a drive. After completing another pass to Cross, Miller looked to throw deep again and was again picked off by Floyd, who brought the ball from the end zone to the Murray State 27 yard line with 1:01 to go in the first half. 

The Racers began their drive slowly, but after a timeout by the Golden Eagles, Williams unloaded a 30-yard pass to Brooks to put the Racers in field goal range with six seconds left in the half. Baum did the rest of the work as he made the 46-yard field goal attempt to put the Racers up 27-7 at halftime.

Tennessee Tech began the second half with the ball and they took as much time off the clock as they could on their way down the field. With the exception of a 29-yard rush from Gist, not a single play in the drive went over nine yards. The Golden Eagles made their way down and into the end zone with a three-yard rush from freshman running back Jordan Brown. This cut the Racers’ lead to 13 with 8:24 left in the third quarter.

That was the last time a team scored in the quarter, though, as both teams punted on each of the next four drives. As the game headed into the fourth quarter, Murray State was up 27-14.

After starting the fourth quarter with a punt, the Racers forced a fumble on the Golden Eagles’ first play. That put the Racers on the Tennessee Tech 10 yard line. The Golden Eagles’ defense held strong and kept the Racers out of the end zone, leaving Baum to kick a 21-yard field goal. After the field goal, the Racers were up 30-14.

The Golden Eagles opted for a switch at quarterback for the game and put in graduate cornerback Shanley Davis. Davis was quick to work out the defense as he rushed for a 20-yard gain, then passed to Cross for a 23-yard gain. It took just two plays after the pass for Brown to get back into the end zone.

The Golden Eagles opted for a two-point conversion attempt after Brown’s touchdown. Davis dropped back to pass and threw to Gist for the extra points, but Floyd jumped the route and took the ball 100 yards for a “pick-2.” That put the Racers up over the Golden Eagles 32-20.

As time started to tick down, the Golden Eagles were running out of chances to gain the lead. With 2:30 left on the clock, they began to put a drive together with a 44-yard pass from Davis to freshman wide receiver Tanner Shiver. Gist capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown rush to cut the lead to just five with 58 seconds left.

The Golden Eagles were forced to attempt an onside kick, but the Racers were able to recover the kick and kneel out the rest of the game. Murray State defeated Tennessee Tech by a score of 32-27.

Head Coach Dean Hood spoke about the Racers’ performance in the game. He said he was very proud of how the team came out and performed following the loss the week before.

“It’s a tough thing in this game to come back from a close loss like we did against Tennessee State,” Hood said. “It’s just tough to get suited up the next week and be locked in. I think that’s the most energy we’ve had all year on this sideline.”

The Racers pick up their first conference win of the season and improve to 4-5 overall. They play their final home game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 13, when they take on SEMO at 1 p.m.

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