Football’s struggles continue at home


Photo courtesy of Dave Winder/Racer Athletics Sophomore quarterback Jayden Stinson (No. 8) threw five interceptions in the Racers’ 45-16 loss to UT Martin on Saturday, Oct. 8. Photo courtesy of Davie Winder/Racer Athletics.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

Murray State’s football team continued its downward slide, dropping to 0-6 on the season and 0-2 in OVC play after its 45-16 loss to 14th-ranked UT Martin Skyhawks on Saturday, Oct. 8.

The Racers blowout loss to the Skyhawks occurred despite having homefield advantage and holding the Skyhawks to a 14-9 lead at halftime.

UT Martin had the ball to start, but after making its way up to the Murray State 1-yard line, sophomore running back Zak Wallace fumbled the ball away. Senior linebacker Darnell Victor recovered it, giving the Racers the ball.

However, despite the momentum seeming to swing  their way early in the game, the Racers suffered a turnover on downs after sophomore quarterback Jayden Stinson threw the ball away.

The Racers’ defense didn’t back down and forced a turnover on downs by the Skyhawks after just four plays.

Neither defense gave in during the first quarter and the two teams remained tied at 0.

The Skyhawks were back to moving the ball in the second quarter, as graduate quarterback Dresser Winn completed passes to sophomore wide receivers Zoe Roberts and Devonte Tanksley,  moving the ball up to the Murray State 6-yard line.

Three plays later, Wallace took the handoff 3 yards for the Skyhawks’ first touchdown of the game. With the extra point up and good, the Skyhawks led the Racers 7-0.

UT Martin scored again on its next drive, as Winn kept the ball and rushed 1 yard for the touchdown. With 9:37 left in the first half, the Skyhawks were up 14-0.

Once the Racers took over, they took the drive slow, moving the ball up the field at their own pace. After 10 plays and two UT Martin penalties, freshman running back Jawaun Northington took the handoff 3 yards for the Racers’ first touchdown.

After the touchdown, Murray State’s kickoff team pinned the Skyhawks at their own 2-yard line. Just one play later, the defense got into the backfield and forced a safety, giving the Racers another 2 points. The Skyhawks still led 14-9.

But, with the ball back with the Racers, Stinson threw it right into the hands of a Skyhawks’ defender, giving them another chance to score before halftime.

Murray State’s defense held strong, though, and for two more drives, it didn’t allow anymore points. As the game went to halftime, the Skyhawks were up 14-9.

After Murray State couldn’t get the ball moving on its first drive, the Skyhawks moved the ball with ease. After two short passes from Winn, he found Tanksley open up the middle for a 37-yard gain, moving the ball up to the Murray State 28-yard line.

Two plays later, freshman running back Sam Franklin rushed 28 yards for the touchdown, putting the Skyhawks up 21-9 early in the third quarter.

A couple drives later, the Racers were in possession of the ball. On the first play of the drive, Stinson dropped back and threw up a bomb to sophomore wide Taylor Shields for a 78-yard touchdown, keeping the Racers in the game as the third quarter came to an end.

Stinson didn’t start the fourth quarter well, throwing another interception and gave the Skyhawks a good field position for their next drive.

The Racers’ defense held them out of the end zone, however, and UT Martin was forced to settle for a field goal. With 3 more points on the board, the Skyhawks led the Racers 24-16.

Two drives later, Winn found Tanksley for a 26-yard pass, which led to four straight Wallace rushes, including a 17-yard rush and a 3-yard rush for a touchdown. The Skyhawks’ lead kept growing at  31-16.

On the Skyhawks’ next drive, Franklin took the first handoff 66 yards for another Skyhawks touchdown, putting them up 38-16 with 5:23 left to play.

The Skyhawks got one more drive late. Franklin took back-to-back rushes for a combined 40 yards, then sophomore running back Jordan Castleberry took a handoff 23 yards, putting the Skyhawks in the red zone.

In the next play, Castleberry got the ball again and took the handoff 4 yards for the Skyhawks’ final touchdown.

When time expired, the Skyhawks left Murray, Kentucky victorious, defeating the Racers 45-16.

Winn completed 27 of his 47 passes for 439 yards but threw one interception and did not have a touchdown. Tankley had nine receptions for 220 yards. Franklin led the Skyhawks in rushing with 160 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries.

Stinson completed just 10 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown but threw five total interceptions in the game. Shields had 112 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. Northington rushed 20 times for 88 yards and a touchdown.

The Racers, still in search of their first win, travel to Clarksville, Tennessee, to take on Austin Peay in the Battle of the Border. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.


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