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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

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Preview: Football heads east for in-state matchup

Jakob Milani
Sophomore running back Q’Daryius Jennings rushes passed a defender on a big rushing gain.

Following a win over Presbyterian College, the Racers head across the state on a short week looking to pull off an upset and put the Missouri Valley Football Conference on notice. Murray State travels to play the University of Louisville on Thursday, Sept. 7.

History between MSU and UofL

Murray State has lost the last six matchups to Louisville, including games in 1987, 1990, 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2017.

The last time the Racers defeated a Football Bowl Subdivision school dates to 1984, when Murray State defeated the Cardinals in old Louisville Stadium.

Keys to the Game

When the Racers defeated the Blue Hose last week, the defense clicked early but struggled in the second quarter where Presbyterian scored all 10 of their points and the Racers went into halftime up 17-10. 

Looking back two seasons to the Racers matchup against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, the defense held the Bearcats to just seven points in the first half, while the Racers’ offense scored seven points. The Bearcats won 42-7 and made an appearance in the College Football Playoffs that year. 

If the Racers’ defense can hold strong in the game against the Cardinals, it’s possible Murray State can stay in the game longer this time.

The Cardinals won their week one matchup against Georgia Tech 39-34 after going down by 15 heading into halftime. Their defense held Georgia Tech to just six points in the second half. Passing is the key to Louisville’s victory. If senior quarterback Jack Plummer can find a rhythm with his receivers, it could be hard for the Racers’ defense to keep up. Plummer completed 18 of his 31 passes in week one, throwing for 247 yards and two touchdowns.

Players to Watch

Murray State junior wide receiver Taylor Shields caught three passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns, with those three passes being split between two quarterbacks: sophomore DJ Williams and senior Eric Phoenix. With that in mind, it’s possible he gets more targets, especially deep passes, throughout the game. That’s especially possible if Louisville goes up by two scores or more.

Junior wide receiver Jamari Thrash caught seven passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns in Louisville’s week one win. He caught 61 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022. If the Cardinals’ passing offense gets going, Plummer may look to Thrash for quick yards throughout the game.

Gametime is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7. Fans can watch on the ACC Network.

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About the Contributor
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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