Racers travel to Clarksville for clash with Governors

Murray State running back Damonta Witherspoon dashes into the end zone for a touchdown Sunday against Eastern Illinois.

MURRAY — The 13th-ranked Murray State football team will travel the 67 miles from Murray to Clarksville Saturday, to take on Austin Peay in a Battle of the Border rivalry game at Fortera Stadium at 2 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN+ and on Froggy 103.7 FM with play-by-play from the “Voice of the Racers” Neal Bradley and analyst Aaron Clayton.

The series at a glance

Saturday will be the 54th meeting between Austin Peay and Murray State with the Racers leading the all-time series, 36-17 and in games played in Clarksville, 15-11. However, recent history in the series has been in favor of the Govs. After winning 22 of 25 meetings from 1981 to 2013, the Racers have now dropped four of the last six to the Govs, including each of the last three.

Scouting the Governors

The Govs picked up their first win at Jacksonville State since 1979 last week when they used six Gamecock turnovers to defeat then 7th-ranked JSU, 13-10. The win moved Austin Peay to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the OVC.

The Govs are currently averaging 22.6 points on 333.0 yards per game, while allowing 33.8 points on 362.4 yards. Despite allowing almost 350 yards per game, Austin Peay currently has an even turnover margin and like the Racers, has nine interceptions on the year.

True freshman Draylen Ellis has been impressive for Austin Peay this season tallying 1,043 yards on 83-for-167 passing with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. On the ground, Brian Snead has been equally as effective, rushing the ball 95 times for 522 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Jack McDonald leads the way with 58 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks, three breakups, a hurry, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Droppin’ Baums

Kicker Aaron Baum was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, with a long of 58, was perfect on extra point and even three a pass for a two-point conversion in the win over Eastern Illinois last week. For his efforts, he was named as OVC and STATS PERFORM National Specialist of the Week.

A steady climb

Murray State continued its rise in both major this poll this week, moving from 17th to 13th in the AFCA FCS Top 25 poll and moving from 19th to 14th in the STATS PERFORM FCS Top 25 poll.

The big take

Murray State has totaled nine interceptions this season, which is the second highest total in the FCS. Stephen F. Austin currently leads the nation with 14, while Austin Peay is in third with nine.

The blue wall

The Murray State offensive line has allowed just three sacks this season, ranking the Racers third in the category, nationally, amongst teams that have played two or more games.

Expected returns

Malik Honeycutt came up huge in the win over Eastern Illinois with a 48-yard punt return that set the Racers up for their final touchdown of the game, that virtually sealed the win with 3:33 to play. The All-American return specialist is currently third in yards per punt return nationally this season with 13.0 yards per punt.