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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Preview: Football’s road through the MVFC

Sophomore quarterback DJ Williams steps back in the pocket against Texas Tech University. Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics.

Two weeks out from the first game of the season, all eyes have turned to Murray State’s football team in its first season as a part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

The Racers find themselves in an uphill climb after going 2-9 in their 2022 campaign and 1-4 in Ohio Valley Conference play. This year, they take on teams in a conference that has produced 10 of the last 12 national champions in NCAA Division 1 FCS.

One thing the Racers can lean on a bit this season is the inclusion of senior offensive lineman Jacob Frye and junior wide receiver Taylor Shields on the All-MVFC Honorable Mention team (voted on by coaches and media), just barely missing the cut of being named some of the best in the conference.

Another note for the Racers’ offense is the return of junior quarterback DJ Williams. He started the 2022 opener against Texas Tech University, where he suffered a non-contact leg injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Heading into the 2023 season, he returns to the starting quarterback role and will look to make up for what he missed last season.

The Racers were picked to finish 11th out of 12 teams in the conference, according to the MVFC preseason polls, with Western Illinois being the only team to receive less votes than Murray State. A look at the Racers’ schedule shows why it could be a tough road ahead in the Valley.

Murray State opens the year at home against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose at 6 p.m.,Saturday, Sept. 2. It’s a special occasion as the Racers host their 1,000th game celebration. 

After taking on the Blue Hose, the Racers travel across the state to take the University of Louisville Cardinals in a Thursday night matchup. Game time is set for 6:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7.

The Racers travel to take on the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider for their weeks three matchup.. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16.

After a bye week, the Racers return to Roy Stewart Stadium for its first MVFC game against the Indiana State Sycamores at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30.

Murray State kicks off its October part of the schedule with a trip north to take on the South Dakota Coyotes at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7.

Murray State’s annual Homecoming game is on Saturday, Oct. 14 where they will host the Southern Illinois Salukis. After the rivalry seemed to be renewed during the 2022-23 basketball season, this game may be one for fans to mark on their calendars. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

The Racers take the road for their next two games, first taking on the Bears of Missouri State in a  2 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Oct. 21. Then, they travel to play the second highest voted team in the conference, the North Dakota State Bison. Game time will be 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.

The University of North Dakota comes to town to play the Racers on Saturday, Nov. 4. It’s Salute To Service day at Roy Stewart Stadium, where the game will take place at 1 p.m.

The Racers take one last road trip in the season when they head to Normal, Illinois, to play the Illinois State Redbirds. Game time will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 11.

Senior Day for Murray State marks the last game of the Racers’ 2023 campaign. They will host the Youngstown State Penguins at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18.

The MVFC has produced great teams over the last several years, and Murray State gets its first taste of the challenge ahead this season. But if all goes right, all roads lead to the FCS playoffs.

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About the Contributor
Jakob Milani
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.

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