Preview: Murray State - Southeast Missouri

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Murray State Racers (4-7, 2-5 OVC) at #13 Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (8-3, 6-1 OVC)
Saturday, November 23 1:00 p.m. CT
Houck Field (10,000) Cape Girardeau, Mo.
TV:...................................................................... ESPN+
Live Stats:....................................... http://bit.ly/2NRBJws
Series Record:........................ Murray State leads 40-12-1
Last Meeting:............... Murray State won 40-38 (11/10/18)
Mitch Stewart at Murray State:..................... 19-36 (5 yrs.)
Mitch Stewart Overall:.............................................. same
Tom Matukewicz at Southeast Missouri:....... 32-37 (6 yrs.)
Tom Matukewicz Overall:............................. 33-37 (7 yrs.)
Murray State Last Week:......... L, 42-7 vs. #22 Austin Peay
Southeast Missouri Last Week: W, 26-12 at Eastern Illinois

GAME NOTES: Southeast Missouri will host Murray State on Saturday with a chance to win or share the OVC Championship. The Redhawks will win at least a share of the title with a win and would be outright champs with a win and Austin Peay loss.  Southeast was in a similar situation last year when they traveled to Murray State only to fall 40-38 when Malik Honeycutt returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left. The loss cost the Redhawks the OVC title but they still qualified for the FCS Playoffs. Murray State owns a 40-12-1 advantage in the all-time series although Southeast Missouri has won three of the last four and six of the last 10 games. Seven of the last 11 games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: Murray State dropped its fourth game in a row with a 42-7 loss to No. 22 ranked Austin Peay last Saturday. The Racers trailed 14-0 at halftime and were within 21-7 at the end of the third quarter after Preston Rice connected with Jonathan Moss for a 27-yard touchdown. But the first-place Govs scored three fourth quarter touchdown to cement the victory. Rice finished the game 18-of-38 for 229 yards and a touchdown but was sacked five times and tossed a pair of interceptions. Nine different players had a catch with Tyre Gray hauling in a team-high four receptions and LaMartez Brooks netting a team-high 72 yards. T.J. Warren had a team-best 12 tackles and an interception while Anthony Koclanakis added 10 stops. He ranks first in the OVC and 12th nationally in tackles (10.3/game). Murray State is fourth in fumbles recovered (14), sixth in turnovers gained (24) and 10th in punt returns (15.40 yards/return). MSU had 6,116 fans at the game last Saturday, the largest crowd for a home finale since 1998. Overall the Racers drew 43,402 fans at home in 2019, the most in a single year since 1998.

SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI: If Southeast Missouri wins a share of the OVC Championship it would mark the team's second overall title (2010). A win would also position the team for a FCS Playoff berth for the second-straight season (and just third time in program history). Southeast has won eight games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history and for only the ninth time since its football program began in 1904. This past week the Redhawks won their fifth game in a row, coming from behind to top Eastern Illinois 26-12. SEMO trailed 7-6 at halftime but Shabari Davis returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to put his team on top for good. Quarterback Daniel Santacaterina passed for 139 yards and ran for 25 yards and a score while Mark Robinson had a game-high 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Kristian Wilkerson had four catches for 56 yards and now ranks fourth in OVC history in career receiving yards (3,331) and eighth in career receptions (203). The Southeast defense limited EIU to just 257 yards of total offense as reigning National Defensive Player of the Year Zach Hall had a team-best 12 tackles (including 1.5 or loss) while also adding a sack and an interception. That performance earned him OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Hall ranks 24th nationally in tackles (9.3/game). Southeast is now ranked No. 13 in the STATS Top 25 and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll.

The Massey Ratings predict a 35-14 SEMO victory.

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