If you accept affairs for a nice, quiet banquet at a bounded steakhouse a or about Murray tonight, don’t be abashed if you see Murray State arch football drillmaster Mitch Stewart and his abhorrent band pile-driving some Angus beef bottomward the gullet.
Because afterwards the Racers rushed for a school-record 449 yards in a 48-41 appointment win over Eastern Illinois aftermost Saturday, guys like Christopher Georgia, Cam Carter, Levi Nesler, Chris White, Jacob Vance and their affluence abiding becoming it.
“We do big-play Thursday, area I’ll buy a assertive players a steak for sacks, touchdowns, big plays during a game,” Stewart said beforehand this week. “And I’m activity to buy all bristles of those guys a steak, aloof because … do we consistently do aggregate perfectly? No. Do we consistently ‘mike’ things perfectly? No.
“But I can acquaint you this. Those guys, there were a brace of times aback I saw them advancing off of the acreage that I didn’t anticipate they were alike activity to be able to angle aback up. They were like that boxer in the 12th round, and you aloof don’t apperceive how he’s activity to abide to get out of the corner. And they kept accomplishing it. They kept affective bodies forward.
“Any time you blitz for over 400 yards, those advanced bristles – you can say what you appetite about DJ Penick and Rodney Castille and (Quarderman) Sloan (because) they had amazing amateur – but they’ll be the aboriginal to acquaint you that those bristles are what fabricated that work. To assuredly accept that d assuredly appearance what affectionate of abhorrent band they can be (was tremendous).”
The hasty advance – which was averaging about 100 yards per d afore Saturday’s access – isn’t the alone abode the Racer abhorrent band is succeeding, either. MSU quarterbacks accept taken a paltry 1.4 sacks per d this division – acceptable for 36th in the country in the category.
Against Southern Illinois? Three sacks, two hurries.
Against Central Arkansas? No sacks, no hurries.
Against Kentucky? One sack, six hurries.
Against UT Martin? Three sacks, no hurries.
Against Eastern Illinois? No sacks, two hurries.
Some of that success absolutely has to accord with the MSU offense, which brand to advance bounce and asks for quarterbacks to accomplish quick reads at the band of scrimmage.
But alum alteration signal-caller Drew Anderson has developed added adequate in the abridged and has alike tucked it for advantage runs. His achievement allotment has steadily added from Anniversary 1 (now up to 56 percent), 13 receivers accept at atomic four catches on the year … and 12 receivers accept a 20-plus backyard canyon achievement or added on their resumé.
The best auspicious allotment for the Racers and their abhorrent band is activity to be about for awhile. White, the team’s 318-pound, 6-foot-2 appropriate tackle, is the alone senior. Carter (6-5, 315) is a junior, and Nesler (6-1, 291, R-Fr.), Georgia (6-3, 293, Fr.) and Vance (6-4, 294, Soph.) all accept at atomic two or added years larboard in eligibility.
“I am one of the youngest, but the affair about it is, you’ve got a lot of acquaintance on the abhorrent line,” said Nesler, a Graves County High School grad. “You’ve got Cam Carter and Chris White, who accept played for several years now. You’ve got a abundant drillmaster in (Brian) Hamilton, and we’ve got a abundant gameplan every anniversary we go in. We rep aggregate out hundreds and hundreds of times. With us actuality adolescent and actuality able to rep it that abounding times, it gives a lot of acquaintance with what (opponents) are activity to bandy at us.”
So area was this abhorrent band aftermost season, aback the Racers had a stable, acute quarterback in Shuler Bentley, but averaged beneath than 70 yards per d on the ground?
“I feel like we’re added of a unit,” Nesler added. “I’ve had a year with them, and they’ve had a year with me. We’ve all been actuality over the summer. Aftermost year, we came in appropriate at abatement camp. Nobody was actuality for the summer. Those two added months we got to absorb with anniversary other? Our band brought us closer. That’s why we’re arena so well.”
In this Saturday’s 1 p.m. home challenge adjoin Tennessee State, MSU’s abhorrent band will accept to try and accommodate a Tigers aegis that’s already best up seven sacks and 29 tackles for accident in four contests – which included a attenuated 31-27 accident at Vanderbilt.
It’s additionally a second-straight anniversary in which the Racer accessory charge accord with an aristocratic receiver. Adjoin EIU, abeyant NFLer Alexander Hollins feasted for about 150 yards on eight catches.
This time, it’s TSU’s Chris Rowland (5-8, 170), who went off adjoin Austin Peay aftermost anniversary for 11 catches, 179 yards and three array in the 49-34 accident in Clarksville, Tennessee. The inferior is aboriginal nationally in advantageous yardage (187.67/game), aboriginal nationally in accepting yards/game (138.3) and sixth in yardage per punt acknowledgment (17.5 yards/return).
“But (Murray State) does aloof abundant to accumulate you off antithesis in all areas,” acclaimed TSU arch drillmaster Rod Reed in his account teleconference. “They’re an up-tempo aggregation that can get up to the band of flat and see what you’re in and alarm plays.
“It’s activity to be a boxy assignment for us. We’ve got a brace guys out for us … and we’ll get a brace guys aback this anniversary … but it’s a boxy out. They’re a boxy team, and (Murray) is a boxy abode to play.”
Murray State vs. Tennessee State
Venue: Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800)
MSU Arch Coach: Mitch Stewart (12-26, 4th year)
TSU Arch Coach: Rod Reed (51-44, 9th year)
All-Time Series: MSU leads 15-13
Last Met: Oct. 29, 2016 (MSU won 38-31)
Listen Live: Froggy 103.7 FM (PxP: Neal Bradley, Color: Josh McKeel)
Follow Live: ESPN , @RacersFootball, @PgriffithMSU, @dreamarlowe85
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