The Skyhawks increased their winning streak to four this weekend after defeating OVC-rival Murray State 62-38.
The Skyhawks (5-5, 4-3 OVC) came into the game with momentum after their big win over Austin Peay last weekend. The Skyhawks
“In today’s game, we knew we had to score,” said UTM head coach Jason Simpson. “The two scores by our defense were huge. Offensively, it was a great job by our offensive line and our running backs getting downhill. I thought we took control of the game up front.”
After a quick three-and-out by Murray State to start the game, the Skyhawks got on the board after two plays and a 5-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Jarod Neal. On the next drive for Murray State, KD Humphries, the Racer’s star quarterback who has only thrown five interceptions this year, threw a 32-yard pick-six to UTM linebacker Nick Dance.
Trailing 14-0, the Racers finally put together a drive to get down the field, but the Skyhawk defense held the Racers to only a field goal. The next drive for the Skyhawks saw them run the ball eight times out of the nine play drive and was capped of with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Abou Toure. Murray State answered back with a touchdown of their own, a 5-yard pass from Humphries to Garian Bradley, and trailed 28-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Neal opened the first play of the second quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Neal to Najee Ray. A couple of drives later, Neal completed another touchdown pass, this one a 10-yard strike to William Tanner. Murray State answered back on the next drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Humphries to Janawski Davis. The Skyhawks tried to extend their lead before halftime, but couldn’t and took a 35-17 lead into the locker room.
The Skyhawks opened their first drive of the second half with a 33-yard field goal from Jackson Redditt. Murray State responded, scoring a 35-yard touchdown pass from Humphries to Jeremy Harness. Murray State answered quickly by getting down the field and scoring a 20-yard touchdown pass from Humphries to Nevar Griffin before the end of the fourth quarter.
With Murray State beginning to gain momentum and only trailing 45-31, they needed to stop UTM to get back into the ballgame. However, a 4-yard touchdown run by Abou Toure and a 16-yard pick-six by UTM’s Walter Evans put the game out of reach for the Racers. Now trailing 59-31, Murray State scored another touchdown to close the gap, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Humphries to Griffin. A 52-yard field goal by Redditt sealed the victory for the Skyhawks, 62-38.
Despite not playing a lot of the Austin Peay game, Neal started and played the entire game, completing 13 of his 20 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Neal also ran for a touchdown early in the game, making it his third game this season he has had a passing and rushing touchdown in a game.
Humphries had a great day passing the ball for Murray State, completing 38 of his 60 passes for 425 yards and five touchdowns. However, the inability to finish drives and the two interceptions cost the Racers.
The Skyhawks running game was the difference in the game, collecting 402 rushing yards. Abou Toure had a career day, running for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“I’m proud of Abou – he is chasing 1,000 yards on the year,” said Simpson. “He has the size and work ethic to succeed. Good things are happening for him.”
The Skyhawks will be face with a tough task next week when they take on the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Kickoff between the Skyhawks and the Bulldogs is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Wade Davis Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.