Murray State rolls to 70-35 OVC victory over Golden Eagles
MURRAY, Ky. -- It wasn't as if the high-powered Murray State offense needed any help Saturday night, but the Racers also got touchdowns from the special teams (punt return) and defense (interception return) and nearly added another on a fumble return.
That's pretty much enough information to let Tennessee Tech football fans know how things went in Stewart Stadium. Not well.
Right from the opening kickoff, things were topsy-turvy for the Golden Eagles, and the Racers rolled to a 70-35 Ohio Valley Conference victory.
The Golden Eagles, (2-3/0-2 OVC) finally return home to Tucker Stadium next week, following a three-game road trip that resulted in three straight losses. Tech will host Jacksonville State Saturday (Oct. 6) at 7 p.m.
Murray State (2-3/1-1 OVC) got 599 total yards of offense, with much of the damage coming from three sources: quarterback Casey Brockman was 32-for-38 for 381 yards and two touchdowns and was not sacked and didn't throw an interception; runningback Jaamal Berry had 13 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown; Walter Powell caught 10 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown.
The Racers were not whistled for a single penalty in the game.
Tech finished with 461 yards of total offense, including 298 through the air and 163 on the ground. Golden Eagle quarterback Tre Lamb was 19-for-30 for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once and sacked twice. Bud Golden led the Tech ground game with 63 yards and one touchdown on nine carries. Da'Rick Rogers caught five passes for 58 yards, while Cody Matthews grabbed three for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Tech had nine penalties for 80 yards.
* Coach Watson Brown and the Golden Eagle coaching staff are wearing "Coach to Cure MD" patches at tonight's game, part of a national gameday charity project of the American Football Coaches Association. The coaches will be wearing patches to help raise awareness of the program. For more information, please to to www.CoachtoCureMD.org
* Perfect weather and playing conditions in Murray, Ky., for the OVC showdown between the Golden Eagles and Racers. Tech will be wearing all-white uniforms and white helmets, with purple numbers and gold trim. Murray State is decked out in navy blue jerseys, gold pants and helmets.
* True freshman Jibrin Linge (Marietta, Ga.) is expected to get his first career start at left guard, while Wesley Sherrill, who has been the starter at that position, has moved to the starting slot at right tackle.
* Junior Cory McDonald (Redwood City, Calif.) will make his first career start at strong safety for the Golden Eagles. He replaces Austin Tallant, who is out with an injury.
* Both Tech and Murray are looking to bounce back from overtime losses on the road last week. Tech fell, 41-38 in two overtimes, at Southeast Missouri. Murray State lost, 50-49, in one overtime at Eastern Illinois.
* Tonight's game is Tech's third consecutive road game. The Golden Eagles play four of their next five at home in Tucker Stadium.
* Quarterback Tre Lamb needs just 66 yards to pass Grant Swallows and move into third place in career passing yards. Lamb has thrown for 4,569 yards.
* The Golden Eagle offense is expecting the return of leading rusher Adam Urbano, after he missed the SEMO game due to a concussion. Bud Golden is also expected to return to action for the first time since the opening game.
* The Tech defense is missing two of its top seven tacklers as Marty Jones is out for the year and Austin Tallant is not dressed for this game.
* Tech leads the all-time series with Murray State, 41-35-1, but the Racers have won three of the last four including 38-37 last year in Cookeville. The Racers have outscored Tech, 95-34, in the last two games in Roy Stewart Stadium.
* Today's game captains are (9) Tre Lamb, (54) Matt Moran, (13) Marcus Edwards and (73) Slade Adams.
* Murray wins coin toss and defers. Tech will receive at the South end.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES
* Tech sends a pair of true freshmen deep to receive the kickoff - Ladarius Vanlier and Eric Belew. Vanlier fumbled it into the end zone, then tried to bring it out. He's caught at the two, setting the defense into motion in a deep hole.
* Lamb avoid a safety, escapes the end zone and reaches the four on third dow. Tech forced to punt, and it goes out of bounds at the TTU 31-yard line.
* Quick scoring drive for the Racers as Casey Brockman gets tremendous protection, has plenty of time and finds Walter Powell all alone in the end zone. After PAT it's 7-0 MSU lead with 13:05 to play in first quarter.
* Second kickoff, Vanlier returns from the eight to the TTU 33. Lamb hits Da'Rick Rogers on consecutive passes over the middle, and first down at the MSU 24. Lamb fires a pass to Cody Matthews and he breaks free for an 18-yard TD, his first of the year. Zach Sharp's PAT ties game at 7-7.
* Powell returns Tech's kickoff from the 10 all the way to the MUR 44. Tech defense forces an incomplete pass, but Golden Eagles offsides. MSU faces third-and-one at Tech 23, and Brockman sacked. Gets back to line, so its fourth-and-one. Duane Brady picks it up with a three-yard run. Pass to the goal line incomplete and deflected, almost intercepted. Third-and-eight, and Brockman hits Nevar Griffin, and he breaks ackles and dives into the end zone. However, ruling is that he stepped out of bounds at the one. First-and-goal. Brockman sneaks to the right side, and scores. Make it MSU 14, Tech 7 with 8:07 to play in first.
* Vanlier flattened at the 19 on the KO return. Fourth-and-one, Golden Eagles going for it on their own 28? They set up at the line, but call timeout. And out comes the punting team. Zinchini gets off a 51-yard kick to the MSU 22, fair catch there.
* Third down, Murray confuses the defense and Powell races arond the left side untouched for a seven-yard touchdown. It's 21-7 with 3:02 to play in first quarter.
* Hard to understand why fans would come to the stadium, then stay out in the parking lot. At least 100 or more out at the cars listening to music and tailgating, rather than coming into the stadium.
* After eight-yard pickup on first, Tech stopped twice and brings up another fourth down. Four possessions and three punts in the first quarter, and this one is returned for a touchdown. Tremendous effort by Walter Powell, who was hit by Zinchini but keeps his balance for the 70-yard score. MSU 28, Tech 7 with 1:02 to play in first quarter.
* Quarter comes to a close with Lamb stopped for loss of three.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES
* Third down passes broken up, and Zinchini to punt from the 37. He gets a good bounce and Powell fields it and downs it at the seven.
* Powell having an All-America performance. He breaks several tackles and gets to the four. Next play, a TD run by Brady and it's 35-7 with 13:35 to go in the second quarter.
* Tech gets a first down near midfield, but the world turns on the Golden Eagles, once again. Lamb hits Cody Matthews in full stride down the middle for a huge gain, but he's tackled from behind and the ball is stripped. Murray's Darrian Skinner picks up the loose ball at the two-yard line and returns it all the way back to midfield. Matthews is injured on the play and helped off the field.
* Murray State turns the turnover into another TD.
* Nice run up the middle by Bud Golden to the TTU 45, followed by another big run for Golden to the MSU 42. Back-to-back first downs. First down as Lamb hits Vanlier at the MSU 31. Offense was moving last possession before the fumble, and is moving again right now. All out rush and Lamb sacked for loss of eight. Steve Wilson grabs a 12-yard pass as Lamb steps up to avoid another strong rush. Fourth-and six. Complete, first down, Lamb finds Vanlier at the 20. Wow, Golden rambles around left end for 20 yards and nobody even made a play on him. Touchdown Golden Eagles to cut it to 42-14 with 3:41 to play in first half. His first career touchdown at Tech.
* Fair catch called for and made at the 28....but a Golden Eagle runs into him. A 15-yard penalty moves the ball out to the 42.
* Pass down the middle complete to Dontel Watkins and he's brought down....wait, he doesn't go down. Three Golden Eagles try to make the play but he gets away at about the 20 and cruises into the end zone. MSU 49-14 with 2:33 to go in the half. It's Brockman's 50th career touchdown pass.
* Vanlier returns the kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, the first of his career. It's the first KO return for touchdown since Henry Sailes in 2008 and sixth in Watson Brown's six seasons at Tech. It's the sixth-longest KO return in school history.
* Not a good night for tacklers. Jaamal Berry breaks of a 35-yard carry to the Golden Eagle 40. Murray calls timeout with 39.4 seconds left at the Tech 20. MSU completion to Grifin who's charging for the end zone, but freshman Demario Donnell drills him at the two, separates the ball from his grasp and it bounces into the end zone where Tra'Darius Goff recovers for Tech for a touchback.
THIRD QUARTER NOTES
* MSU almost breaks opening kickoff before Patrick Prewitt makes tackle at the 36. Ball slips from Brockman's hand as he tries to pass, but he recovers for loss at the MSU 44. On third down, Will Johnson breaks up a pass, and Tech forces the first Racer punt of the game. It sails into the end zone for a touchback.
* Down by four touchdowns, Golden Eagle offense has some work ahead as Lamb & Co. begin at the 25.
* OH NO! Lamb's pass goes through the receiver's hand at the 25 and into the hands of Murray State's Julian Whitehead, who trots to the end zone. Just when you thought things were turning in Tech's direction...... Murray State 56, Tech 21 with 12:52 to play in third quarter.
* Tech marches downfield with strong running game by Golden and Urbano, but stalls at the 27. On third down, a pass into the corner of the end zone is dropped. On fourth down, Lamb's pass is too long and Tech turns it over on downs.
* Lamar Moore makes a great play and stops a third-down pass play, forcing a Racer punt, which bounces dead at the Tech 15-yard line with 6:53 to go in the third.
* Big gain on a swing pass to Urbano, who races out to the TTU 39 for a first down. Lamb finds Matthews down the sideline, and he takes it to the MSU seven. First-and-goal. Touchdown. Complete from Lamb to redshirt freshman Steve Wilson, his second TD catch in two weeks. Tech back within 28 points, 56-28.
* Duane Brady squirts through a hole up the middle, then dodges tacklers into the end zone for another Racer TD. That makes it 63-28 with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
* Lots and lots of players getting to see action tonight. Right now offense includes freshman runningback Radir Anoor and freshman receivers Eric Belew and Krys Cates. Lamb's pass underthrown and Tech force to punt.
* Couple more sure tackles broken, and Brady breaks free for a touchdown. PAT makes it 70-28.
* Darian Stone now in at quarterback for the Golden Eagles.
* KD Humphries is at quarterback for the Racers.
* Nice run by Stone for a first down, breaking into the open field and dodging defenders. Another nice run for Stone, and he goes out of bounds at the MSU nine with 6.5 seconds left. Stone hits Cates in the end zone for a nine-yard TD. Sharp's kick with 1.3 seconds remaining, makes it 70-35. It was Cates' first career touchdown.
* Game over.