Preview: Murray State vs. Tennessee State

MurraySports

 

Tennessee State Tigers (2-2, 1-1 OVC)
at Murray State Racers (2-3, 2-0 OVC)
Saturday, October 13 1:00 p.m. CT
Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) Murray, Ky.
TV:...................................................................... ESPN+
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=229571
Series Record:........................... Murray State leads 15-13
Last Meeting:............... Murray State won 38-31 (10/29/16)
Rod Reed at Tennessee State:..................... 51-44 (9 yrs.)
Rod Reed Overall:................................................... same
Mitch Stewart at Murray State:..................... 12-26 (4 yrs.)
Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same
Tennessee State Last Week:......... L, 49-34 at Austin Peay
Murray State Last Week:.......... W, 48-41 at Eastern Illinois

GAME NOTES: Murray State returns home as one of just two OVC teams without a loss, to host Tennessee State. The two teams did not play a year ago, but Murray State has won the last two meetings, one of which went into overtime and both of which were determined by a touchdown or less. In the last meeting, TSU entered the contest ranked No. 25 and led 20-17 at halftime. But Murray State scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns to grab the lead and win 38-31. KD Humphries passed for 398 yards and five touchdowns for Murray State, with Jesse Blackburn grabbing eight of those passes for 132 receiving yards.  Ronald Butler passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 109 yards for the Tigers. The game saw a combined 1,012 yards of total offense for the teams.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Playing in its first game since sophomore linebacker Christion Abercrombie was injured, Tennessee State dropped its first Conference game of the season, falling 49-34 at Austin Peay. The game was close throughout until back-to-back APSU touchdowns put them on top 42-24 in the third quarter. But TSU pulled to within eight points early in the fourth quarter but was unable to get closer on either of its next two possessions. Junior Chris Rowland, who ranks first nationally in all-purpose yards (187.67/game) caught 11 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns and returned three punts for 34 yards to finish the game with 213 yards. Rowland is also first nationally in receiving yards/game (138.3) and sixth in punt returns (17.5 yards/return). Quarterback Demry Croft passed for 248 yards and three touchdowns while Michael Hughes also saw time and threw a touchdown pass. TSU currently ranks 10th nationally in passing offense (316.8 yards/game).  Freshman kicker Antonio Zita connected on field goal attempts of 38 and 33 yards and is now 7-of-8 on the season (with the miss coming from 46 yards) and he ranks seventh nationally in field goals made/game (1.75).

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: For only the second time since the 1997 season (and first since 2013), Murray State is 2-0 in OVC play. The Racers set a new modern-era school single-game rushing record with 449 yards on the ground (breaking the old mark of 418 set in 2000). Sophomore D.J. Penick was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week after carrying the ball 22 times for a career-high 180 yards (8.2 ypc) and three touchdowns in the win. It was the most rushing yards by a MSU player since the 2011 season. Penick scored the game-winning touchdown on a two-yard run with 26 seconds remaining. Rodney Castille added 142 yards and a touchdown  (marking the first time MSU had two players reach 100 yards in the same game since 2006) while quarterback Drew Anderson had 79 rushing yards and a rushing score to go along with 209 passing yards and a touchdown. The win over Eastern Illinois featured 89 combined points and 1,301 yards of total offense. After averaging just 280 yards of total offense over the first three games of the season against a challenging season, the Racers have averaged 591.5 yards/game over its last two contests. Senior Kenney Wooten had two keys sacks, including one in the fourth quarter on a 4th down attempt deep in its own territory. Wooten ranks 32nd nationally in sacks (0.8/game).

The Massey Ratings predict a 31-27 Tennessee State victory.

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