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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Two teams that suffered heartbreaking overtime losses on the road last week in their Ohio Valley Conference openers will battle Saturday to get into the win column in league play for the first time in 2012.
Tennessee Tech (2-2/0-1 OVC) visits Murray State (1-3/0-1) for a 6 p.m. contest in Roy Stewart Stadium, a site that hasn't been kind to the Golden Eagles the past four years. Tech lost at Murray State in 2008 and 2010 by a combined 95-34. In addition, the Racers escaped Cookeville with a 38-37 victory last year, giving MSU three wins in the last four meetings.
The game shapes up to be an offensive explosion, with two of the most prolific quarterbacks in the conference calling the shots.
For Tech, senior Tre Lamb set the school record last week with 481 passing yards, and ranks first in the league in passing completion percentage, second in passing and third in total offense.
Murray State is led by quarterback Casey Brockman, who ranks second in the OVC in passing and total offense.
Combined, Lamb and Brockman have thrown for 2,437 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Tech defense is led by senior Will Johnson, who ranks ninth in the league with 8.2 tackles per game. Murray State's top tackler, Brandon Wicks, is seventh in the OVC with 8.5 tackles per game while Qua Huzzie is tops in the OVC in tackles-for-loss.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (2-2, 0-1
at Murray State Racers (1-3, 0-1 OVC)
Saturday, Sept. 29 • 6:00 p.m. CT
Roy Stewart Stadium (16,800) • Murray, Ky.
TV:................................................... OVC Digital Network
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=10074
Series Record:.................... Tennessee Tech leads 41-35-1
Last Meeting:................ Murray State won 36-27 (10/15/11)
Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech:................ 27-33 (6 yrs.)
Watson Brown Overall:......................... 120-185-1 (28 yrs.)
Chris Hatcher at Murray State:....................... 14-12 (3 yrs.)
Chris Hatcher Overall:............................... 108-39 (13 yrs.)
Tennessee Tech Last Week: L, 41-38 at Southeast Missouri (2OT)
Murray State Last Week:..... L, 50-49 at Eastern Illinois (OT)
GAME NOTES: Two high-octane offenses that need an OVC win will meet up on Saturday night in Murray, Ky. Both Tennessee Tech and Murray State started OVC play with an overtime loss last weekend (despite each team’s quarterback throwing for 400-plus yards) and want to avoid starting the OVC season 0-2. The matchups is the 78th all-time between the schools as the series dates back to before the OVC existed, as the team’s first played in the 1930 season. The Racers have won the last two and three of the last four overall in the series. Last year’s meeting netted 861 yards of total offense and 75 total points as MSU upset the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles. The Racers pulled ahead 31-17 at halftime and overcame three second half touchdowns by TTU including one with 2:05 to play that pulled the score to within a point. But the ensuing PAT was no good and Murray State pulled out the one-point win. Casey Brockman passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 42 yards and another score while Tre Lamb threw for 197 yards and two scores and Dontey Gay rushed for three touchdowns for Tech.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE TECH: Tennessee Tech failed to convert on a field goal in the second overtime and dropped a 41-38 decision at Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. The Golden Eagles racked up 560 yards of total offense (compared to just 357 yards for the Redhawks) on the night as quarterback Tre Lamb threw for a school record 481 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for an additional score. But Lamb was intercepted three times, two of which were returned for touchdowns in the second quarter and shifted the momentum in the game as SEMO turned a 17-7 deficit into a 21-17 advantage. Lamb, who ranks ninth nationally in passing yards (284.75 yards/game) had a favorite target on the night in newcomer Da’Rick Rogers. The Tennessee transfer caught 18 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns; both the catches and yardage set new TTU single game records. The 303 yards is the most at any level of NCAA football this season. Rogers currently ranks fifth nationally in receiving yards/game (127.75) and 15th in receptions/game (7.25).
SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: Despite 574 yards of total offense and 49 points, Murray State started the OVC season with a loss on Saturday, falling 50-49 in overtime when EIU converted a two-point conversion at the end of the first extra period. The Racers had trailed 20-7 midway through the first quarter but stormed back to lead 36-20 early in the third quarter. It was then sophomore Jordan Benton who converted a 21-yard field goal with 5:11 to play in the game to tie the score at 42 and ultimately force the extra period. Benton was named OVC Co-Specialist of the Week after tying the MSU school record for field goals made in a game (5). Benton connected from 39, 30, 35, 36 and 21 yards in the game and was also a perfect 4-of-4 on extra point attempts in scoring 19 total points (the seventh-most by an FCS player in a game this season). Benton currently ranks 11th nationally in field goals (1.50/game). Casey Brockman completed 43 passes for 423 yards and two scores in the game; Brockman now ranks first nationally in completions (36.0/game) and fourth in total offense (324.25 yards/game). Walter Powell grabbed a game-high 13 passes for 142 yards and ranks third nationally in receptions/game (10.25). Duane Brady had 72 yards to lead the MSU rushing attack while newcomer Jaamal Berry had 40 yards and two scores.