RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University football team went on top by a touchdown with four minutes left in the game and then stopped Murray State University on fourth down with 37 seconds left for a 28-21 Homecoming victory Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium.
EKU (3-5, 2-2 OVC) has now won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Racers (3-5, 2-3).
After a third-down sack by redshirt freshman Anthony Brown pushed the Racers back to their own five yard line, the Colonels got the ball at the Murray 38-yard line with 5:26 left in the game. Quarterback T.J. Pryor picked up eight yards on the first play, but EKU gained just one more yard on the next two plays. On 4th-and-1, Pryor found a hole on the left side and raced in from 29 yards out for the go-ahead score with 4:19 on the clock.
EKU forced the Racers to punt on their next possession, but the Colonel offense couldn’t pick up a first down and gave the ball back with 2:58 left to play. MSU drove to the Eastern 21 yard line, but Casey Brockman was sacked by junior Emory Attig for an eight-yard loss. On 3rd-and-18, sophomore Brooklyn Fox nearly intercepted the ball at the goal line before it fell to the ground. Brockman’s fourth down pass was caught on the sideline but the receiver couldn’t stay inbounds.
Murray State entered the game averaging 34.7 points and more than 400 yards per game. The Racers finished with 373 yards, including 290 through the air, but converted just four of their 19 third downs.
Pryor rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns while completing 10-of-17 pass attempts for 140 yards. Sophomore Orlandus Harris caught five passes for 74 yards.
For Murray State, Brockman went 31-for-56 for 299 yards but did not toss a touchdown pass. Mike Harris ran for 63 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Racers.
On its first possession of the game, Murray State drove 80 yards on seven plays in 1:21 to grab the early lead. Harris finished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The Colonels answered with a scoring drive of their own, moving 80 yards on eight plays in 3:37. Pryor covered the final seven yards on two rushes, including a 3-yard touchdown run.
After the Racers moved ahead by three on a field goal with 11:24 left in the second quarter, Eastern added two touchdowns to take an 11-point lead into the locker room at the break.
Redshirt freshman Shawn Shupperd helped out the Colonel offense when he tipped a Brockman pass into the air and picked it off at the MSU 17 yard line. Junior H.B. Banjoman carried for 11 yards on the first play and then finished it off three plays later with a 1-yard touchdown run. The extra-point made it 14-10 in favor of Eastern Kentucky.
EKU had a chance to run out the clock in the final minute of the first half and settle for a four-point lead at the break. However, on 1st-and-10, Pryor found Harris down the left side from 49 yards away to put the home team in front 21-10.
Murray State closed the gap to three, 21-18, with the only score of the third quarter. Mike Harris scored from a yard out for his second touchdown of the game. Josh Brown connected with Marcus Harris on the two-point conversion to get the Racers within a field goal of tying the game.
Eastern did not have a first down in the third quarter and was out-gained 106 to 13 by Murray State.
With 9:34 left in the game, MSU got the game tying field goal. Kienan Cullen converted the three-pointer from 43 yards out.
The Colonels will host No. 2 Jacksonville State next Saturday, Nov. 6. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.
–The game featured a match-up of Murray State’s OVC leading passing offense (307 ypg) and EKU’s passing defense (233.4 ypg), which ranked last in the conference entering the game. The Racers finished with 290 passing yards.
–T.J. Pryor’s first quarter touchdown was his sixth rushing score of the season. His second quarter scoring toss was also his sixth touchdown pass of the season. Pryor added his seventh rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
–Shawn Shupperd’s second quarter interception was the first of his career.
–Orlandus Harris caught his third touchdown pass of the season in the second quarter.
–T.J. Pryor’s 49-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter was the longest completion of the year for the Colonels.
–Anthony Brown’s sack on 3rd-and-10 in the fourth quarter gives the redshirt freshman 5.5 sacks this season. He’s had at least one sack in five of the last six games.
–EKU needs three more league victories to reach the 300 milestone. The Colonels are now 297-116-7 all-time in the Ohio Valley Conference.