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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

PREVIEW: Football seeks championship in last OVC journey

Sophomore quarterback DJ Williams, voted the 2021 OVC Freshman of the Year, has his sights set on one last OVC championship. Photo courtesy of Dave Winder, Racer Athletics.

Jakob Milani
Sports Editor
[email protected]

The Murray State football season is just around the corner, and with it being the Racers’ final season in the OVC, fans can expect some fireworks from the team this fall.

In spring 2022, Murray State and the MVFC announced the Racers will be joining the conference in fall 2023, meaning the Racers have one more shot at OVC championship glory in football.

Following a promising 5-2 finish in the spring 2021 season, the Racers were picked to win the OVC in the fall 2021 season. While the Racers were unable to come away with the trophy in the fall of that year, they still finished with a 6-5 record, marking back-to-back winning seasons in the first two seasons under Head Coach Dean Hood.

Now, heading into the 2022 season, the Racers are picked to finish third in OVC standings in their final year with the conference.

The roster saw changes over the offseason, including the transfer of junior quarterback Preston Rice, sophomore offensive lineman Jacob Vance and sophomore cornerback Marcis Floyd. 

Other notable players graduated following the fall 2021 season, including wide receiver Malik Honeycutt, inside linebacker Jacodi Hearn and running back Rodney Castille.

However, of the 11 players named to All-OVC teams in the fall 2021 season, seven players have returned for the 2022 season. All seven have been named to the 2022 All-OVC Preseason Team. Of the seven includes 2021 OVC Freshman of the Year sophomore quarterback DJ Williams, who steps into the official starting quarterback role this season. 

Sophomore running back Demonta Witherspoon, senior wide receiver LaMartez Brooks and senior offensive lineman Levi Nesler will join Williams on offense for the All-OVC Preseason Team Stats Performed also named Nesler to the Preseason All-American list.

On defense, the Racers listed senior outside linebacker Darnel Victor and senior inside linebacker Eric Samuta on the All-OVC Preseason Team. Senior defensive lineman Nate Chambers, a transfer from Division II Hillsdale College, was picked as an OVC “Newcomer To Watch,” adding to the force on the defense.

Murray State opens its 2022 campaign with a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to take on their first FBS opponent of the year, the Texas Tech University Raiders. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The Racers’ first home game is on Sept. 10 against former OVC rival Jacksonville State University. The matchup against the Gamecocks is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. 

The Ball State University Cardinals, the second and final FBS team on Murray State’s schedule, will host the Racers on Sept. 17 with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

Murray State opens the conference season with a home game against the Eastern Illinois University Panthers on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m., then travels for another non-conference matchup against the 17th-ranked Southeastern Louisiana Lions on Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

After hosting 18th-ranked UT Martin in their second conference matchup of the season on Oct. 8, the Racers travel to face another former OVC rival, the Austin Peay Governors, on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.

Following a conference matchup at Lindenwood to take on the Lions on Oct. 22, the Racers return to Roy Stewart Stadium for Homecoming, hosting the Tennessee State Tigers on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.

A bye week for the Racers precedes the final non-conference matchup where Murray State hosts the Robert Morris Colonels for senior night. The game is set for Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. 

The Racers final game of the season takes place in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where the Racers take on the SEMO Redhawks in the last OVC matchup of the year. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

With a projected third place finish and plenty of tough opponents, as well as old foes, 2022 will prove to be an interesting year for Murray State football. In their last year in the OVC, the Racers look to capture conference championship glory on their way out.

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