Panthers fall flat after huge first quarter against Murray State

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Panthers raced out to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter but it was the Murray State Racers who won the race Saturday.

The Panthers put up 21 points in the first quarter, but were unable to get back into the end zone until the fourth quarter and that led to Murray State’s 40-38 win Saturday at O’Brien Field.

It was Homecoming for Eastern, but once the Panthers jumped out to a 21-3 lead, it was all Murray State the rest of the way.

The problem for Eastern was six turnovers with Murray State scoring 20 points off those turnovers.

Everything seemed to be going the Panthers way early in the game, redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Kimble was find receivers at will and redshirt senior running back Devin Church was leading the rushing game and receiving game.

Kimble was 16-29 in the first half, but seemed to injury his right forearm after being knocked down and fumbling at the end of the second quarter and he did not return.

But while Kimble was in the game, he connected with Church on a 51-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-3 with 5:38 left in the first quarter.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Shawn Mitchell opened the scoring, bringing in a 28-yard pass from Kimble.

And the last time Eastern was able to get in the end zone was Church on a 13-yard run with 43 seconds left in the first quarter. Church had two rushing touchdowns for 156 yards.

Redshirt junior quarterback Austin Green took over at quarterback for some time, but was replaced by redshirt sophomore quarterback Bud Martin, and things did not get much better.

On his first drive, Martin led the Panthers on a touchdown drive, but after that, he threw an interception in the end zone that led to a Murray State score.

Church gave Eastern a 31-22 lead with 14:38 lead, but Murray State took the lead just five minutes later, and it really only took two plays.

To start the big scoring run for Murray State, KD Humphries connected with Jesse Blackburn on an 87-yard touchdown pass. Five minutes later, Mareio McGraw took off for 77 yards, putting the game away.

For Murray State, kicker Connor Mitchell gave the Racers 15 points on five field goals. He was 5-5 in the game.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]