Preview: Eastern Illinois at Murray State

MurraySports

 

Eastern Illinois Panthers (0-5, 0-1 OVC) at Murray State Racers (2-3, 0-1 OVC)
Saturday, October 5 1:00 p.m. CT
Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) Murray, Ky.
TV:...................................................................... ESPN+
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=264916
Series Record:......................... Eastern Illinois leads 19-15
Last Meeting:................. Murray State won 48-41 (10/6/18)
Adam Cushing at Eastern Illinois:....................... 0-5 (1 yr.)
Adam Cushing Overall:............................................ same
Mitch Stewart at Murray State:..................... 17-32 (5 yrs.)
Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same
Eastern Illinois Last Week:.... L, 40-29 vs. Tennessee Tech
Murray State Last Week:.................... L, 40-7 at UT Martin 

GAME NOTES: Both Eastern Illinois and Murray State are looking to rebound from Conference opening losses last weekend when they matchup on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers have won 12 of the past 16 in the all-time series, although the Racers have won two of the last three, including 48-41 a year ago in Charleston. That marked the fourth-straight game the road team had won in the series. The last three games in the series have been decided by just 12 total points, including a double overtime contest in 2017 (a 27-24 EIU victory). Last year's meeting had a combined 1,301 yards of total offense and 89 points as D.J. Penick ran for a two-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left to push Murray State to the 48-41 victory. That was one of three touchdown rushes on the day for Penick, who had 180 of MSU's 449 rushing yards. Rodney Castille added 142 rushing yards and a touchdown for the Racers. Johnathan Brantley tossed a trio of touchdown passes for EIU (two to Alexander Hollins who finished with 132 receiving yards) while Jamal Scott had 115 rushing yards.

SCOUTING EASTERN ILLINOIS: After scoring just two touchdowns and 19 combined points over its first four games of the season, Eastern Illinois managed 29 points and four touchdowns but it was not enough in a 40-29 home loss to Tennessee Tech. Quarterback Harry Woodbery attempted a school record 68 passes (3 off the OVC record), a mark that is the most by any Division I (FBS or FCS) player this season. Woodbery passed for 334 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, connecting with eight different receivers, including 10 times to Robbie Lofton (who finished with 124 yards). Jaelin Benefield rushed for a game-high 46 yards and two touchdowns and also caught eight passes for  69 yards to finish the game with 126 all-purpose yards. Sean Williams led the Panthers defense with seven tackles.  Dytarious Johnson added six tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Johnson leads the team with 28 total tackles, including 6.0 for loss, and two sacks on the season.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: Murray State was limited to a season-low 267 yards of total offense and just seven points as the team opened Conference play with a 40-7 loss at UT Martin. MSU ran the ball just 16 times for 17 yards (1.1 ypc) on the evening. After having five takeaways in its previous game against Morehead State, the Racers were unable to force a turnover against the Skyhawks while allowing them to tally 500 yards of total offense. Anthony Koclanakis had 18 tackles, the second-most by an OVC player in 2019 (and third-most nationally) while Kendrick Catis added 11 stops and two pass breakups. Quarterback Preston Rice, who enters this week ranked eighth nationally in completion percentage (69.0%), completed 17-of-29 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown against UTM. Jared McCray proved to be his favorite target, snagging six passes while Rodney Castille added five for 84 yards and the team's lone touchdown on the evening. The Racers rank third in the OVC and 30th nationally in turnover margin (+0.6/game) while also ranking second nationally in fumbles recovered (8) and 15th in turnovers gained (10).

The Massey Ratings predict a 31-24 Murray State victory.

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Photos: Murray State - Morehead

Photos: Calloway - Paducah Tilghman