Preview: Murray State vs. Kentucky Wesleyan

MurraySports

 

Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers (0-0, 0-0 GMAC)
at Murray State Racers (0-0, 0-0 OVC)
Thursday, August 31 • 6:00 p.m. CT
Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) • Murray, Ky.
TV:.................................................. OVC Digital Network
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=184250
Series Record:............................... Murray State leads 4-0
Last Meeting:................... Murray State won 52-12 (9/3/15)
Brent Holsclaw at Kentucky Wesleyan:...... 39-108 (14 yrs.)
Brent Holsclaw Overall:............................................ same
Mitch Stewart at Murray State:....................... 7-15 (3 yrs.)
Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same
Kentucky Wesleyan Last Week:................................... n/a
Murray State Last Week:............................................. n/a

GAME NOTES: Murray State begins the 2017 season by hosting Kentucky Wesleyan for the fifth time in program history (all coming since 1999). The Racers have won all four of the previous contests by a total margin of 257-51. The two teams last played to open the 2015 season; in that contest the Racers gained 578 yards of total offense, pulling out to a 45-0 advantage before ultimately winning 52-12. In the victory KD Humphries passed for 385 yards and five touchdowns, three of which went to Jeremy Harness. There will be some noticeable changes to Roy Stewart Stadium this season including new lighting and an upgraded video board.

SCOUTING KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: Kentucky Wesleyan has eight offensive and seven defensive starters returning from last year’s team that was 3-8 overall. The Panthers, a member of NCAA Division II, are under the direction Brent Holsclaw, who is in the 15th year at his alma mater. Sophomore Mike McGee returns at quarterback after appearing in the final four games of last season. He passed for 1,180 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie season. One of his targets this year will be senior Jared Beard, who transferred from Austin Peay where he caught 71 passes a season ago (including seven for 60 yards against Murray State on October 1). Defensively, Ty Martin-Miles returns after making 75 tackles a year ago.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: Murray State begins its third season under head coach Mitch Stewart on Thursday night. The Racers made improvement in Conference play last year, finishing 4-4, its first .500 or better OVC mark since 2013. That included back-to-back wins over nationally-ranked opponents during the year, as the team topped No. 15 Eastern Illinois (40-38) and No. 25 Tennessee State (38-31). The biggest question in the offseason for the Racers was who will play quarterback after the graduation of KD Humphries who finished his career with 10,742 yards of total offense (third-most in OVC history). After a preseason competition between a group of six players, junior Old Dominion transfer Shuler Bentley was named the opening game starter. Bentley was a two-time South Carolina Gatorade High School Player of the Year and in two seasons at ODU passed for 1,498 yards and 12 touchdowns. He will be backed up by sophomore Brendan Bognar. The Racers will start a true freshman in the backfield, as D.J. Penick is listed at the top of the squad’s depth chart after rushing for 1,718 yards and 23 touchdowns at Highland Park (Ill.) High School a season ago. Murray State welcomes nine defensive starters back including Preseason All-OVC selection D’Montre Wade (50 tackles, three interceptions, 15 pass breakups).

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