Preview: Murray State at Eastern Illinois

MurraySports

Murray State Racers (1-3, 1-0 OVC)
at Eastern Illinois Panthers (1-4, 1-1 OVC)
Saturday, October 6 6:00 p.m. CT
O'Brien Field (10,000) Charleston, Ill.
TV:...................................................................... ESPN+
Live Stats: https://eiupanthers.com/sidearmstats/football/summary
Series Record:......................... Eastern Illinois leads 19-14
Last Meeting:.. Eastern Illinois won 27-24 in 2OT (10/14/17)
Mitch Stewart at Murray State:..................... 11-26 (4 yrs.)
Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same
Kim Dameron at Eastern Illinois:................... 25-26 (5 yrs.)
Kim Dameron Overall:............................................. same
Murray State Last Week:............... W, 45-38 vs. UT Martin
Eastern Illinois Last Week:.... W, 52-38 at Tennessee Tech

GAME NOTES: With both teams coming off wins, Murray State travels to Eastern Illinois for a Saturday night contest. The last two games in the series have been decided by a combined five points, including an overtime contest a year ago (the second overtime contest between the teams in the past six years). In that game, after missing two attempts earlier in the game, Matt Severino connected on field goals of 22 and 27 yards in the overtime periods and EIU blocked Murray State's game-tying kick in the second overtime to win 27-24. Isaiah Johnson was named OVC Player of the Week after he ran for 236 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries (7.4 ypc). Shuler Bentley passed for 332 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score for Murray State. In the past two years the two teams have combined for 2,034 yards of total offense in the pair of matchups. The road team has won the last three in the series and four of the past five overall. Eastern Illinois head coach Kim Dameron was an assistant coach at Murray State from 1993-95 under Houston Nutt.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: After opening the season with a trio of tough non-conference games, Murray State had an open date and followed that with a 45-38 win over rival UT Martin in its OVC opener. The Racers are one of four OVC teams undefeated in OVC play entering the week. The 45 points were 12 more than the team scored in the first three games of the season combined. MSU had 453 yards of total offense, the most for the team since the opening game of the 2017 season (457 yards vs. Kentucky Wesleyan) and most against a Division I team since October 29, 2016 (457 yards vs. Tennessee State). Buffalo transfer Drew Anderson completed 21-of-32 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for another score in the victory. Anderson completed his first 14 passes of the game. Malik Honeycutt caught five of those passes for 137 yards; he ranks fifth nationally in yards/reception (23.67). Senior Quincy Williams was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week after tallying 11 tackles (including 8 solo and 2.0 for loss) and intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter and returning it 82 yards for what proved to be the game-winning score. It marked the fifth-longest interception return nationally this season. Williams currently ranks third in the OVC and 27th nationally in tackles (9.5/game).

SCOUTING EASTERN ILLINOIS: Eastern Illinois won its first game of the season in topping Tennessee Tech 52-38 in Cookeville. The Panthers continued its high-octane offense (they rank seventh nationally in passing offense with 325.2 yards/game) with Harry Woodbery, who started in place of the injured Johnathan Brantley (who had passed for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in four games). Woodbery responded by completing 32-of-49 passes for 339 yards and five touchdowns. This season the EIU quarterbacks have attempted 228 passes and thrown only one interception (only six teams nationally have not thrown an interception in 2018). Alexander Hollins caught nine passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Hollins currently ranks first nationally in receiving touchdowns (9) and second in receptions/game (8.6) and total receiving yards (601). After the team had back-to-back sub-100-yard rushing games, EIU finished the game with a season-high 260 yards on the ground led by Isaiah Johnson who finished with 161 rushing yards. That performance is the only 100-plus yard effort by any OVC player over the past two weeks of the season. Senior kicker/punter Nick Bruno was named OVC Specialist of the Week after going 7-of-7 on PAT attempts and connecting on a 22-yard field goal; he also punted twice.

The Massey Ratings predict a 37-34 Eastern Illinois victory.

Racer Football Report 10/3/18

2018-19 Racer Basketball Preview

Five Questions with  Matt McMahon on the first day of practice 10/1/18

Photos: Murray State vs. UT-Martin

Racers stun UT-Martin 45-38