Football Preview: Murray State - Eastern Illinois

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Date (Time): Sept.  24 (1 p.m. CT)
Opponent: Eastern Illinois
Site (Venue): Murray, Ky. (Roy Stewart Stadium)
Audio: Froggy 103.7 FM (PxP: Neal Bradley; Analyst: Josh McKeel)
TV: ESPN+ (PxP: Neal Bradley; Analyst: Josh McKeel)
Live Stats: GoRacers.com
Twitter In Game: @RacersFootball
MUR Record (Streak): 0-3 (Lost 3)
EIU Record (Streak): 0-3 (Lost 3)
All-Time Series vs. EIU (Streak): Series tied 19-19 (Won 5)
All-Time Series in Murray (Streak): MUR leads 12-8 (Won 3)
First Meeting: W 38-13 (11/15/46 at MUR)
Last Meeting: W 20-13 (11/20/21 at EIU)
Largest MSU Win: W 35-7 (11/12/77 at MUR) [28 Pts.]
Largest MSU Loss: L 7-48 (10/14/00 at EIU) [41 Pts]
The Massey Ratings Predicts: Murray State 24 - Eastern Illinois 20
Last Five vs. EIU: 5-0 (WWWWW)

The Game
After a week away, the Murray State football team returns home Saturday for the annual Family Weekend game against Eastern Illinois. Murray State enters Saturday at 0-3 after failing to get the offense going at Ball State and falling, 31-0. Kickoff between the Panthers and the Racers is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be broadcast locally on Froggy 103.7 FM and nationally on ESPN+.

The Series At A Glance
In their final game as OVC foes, Eastern Illinois and Murray enter Saturday's contest tied in the all-time series at 19 games each, thanks to a season sweep of the Panthers by the Racers last season.

With the two wins over EIU last season, the Racers have now won each of their last five meetings with the Panthers. In Murray, the Racers have won each of the last three meetings at Roy Stewart Stadium and now hold a 12-8 advantage.

Scouting The Panthers
Eastern Illinois enters Saturday at 0-3, after falling in the Mid-America Classic last week at Illinois State, 35-7.

The Panthers currently average 18.0 points per game on 289.3 total yards, while allowing 35.7 points per game on 385.0 total yards. The Panther offense is a pass-heavy one, with an average of 195.3 yards per game in the air, compared to 94.0 per game on the ground.

Jonah O'Brien has served as QB1 for the Panthers this season, completing 69.8-percent of his passes for 188.3 yards per game with six touchdowns and six interceptions. His top target this season has been Justin Thomas who averages 54.7 yards per game and 11.7 yard per catch with one touchdown.

On the ground, the main weapon for Eastern Illinois has been Markenzy Pierre. Pierre currently averages 55.3 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. Defensively, Colin Bohanek leads the way for the Panthers with a team-high 24 carries, 0.5 tackles-for-loss, one interception, one pass breakup and three quarterback hurries.

A Win Saturday Would...
A win Saturday would be the Racers' sixth straight over Eastern Illinois, would put a stop to a season-opening three-game skid and would be the 499th win in Racer football history.

Finally Fall?
After temps in the high 90's earlier this week, temperature at kickoff Saturday is predicted to be just 82 F. Saturday is expected to be slightly humid, around 40-percent, with just a six-percent chance of rain and winds out of the south-southwest at 8-14 mph.

Standing Their Ground
The Racer defense has been perfect on fourth down this season. Currently, MSU is just one of 17 teams nationally that have yet to allow an opponent to convert a fourth down in 2022.

Grab & Go
Through three games this season, the Racers have picked off their opponents four times. The four interceptions currently leads the OVC and ranks the Racers 13th in all of the FCS.

Kicking It Up A Notch
In just 26 attempts this season, punter Lewis Halton has already recorded six punts of 50-plus yards. That number is just one less than the seven he has kicked in previous two years as the Racers' primary punter.

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