Eastern football loses against Murray State, record is now 0-6


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News Harry Woodbery scrambles around the pocket while looking downfield to look for an open receiver. Eastern lost to Tennessee Tech 40-29 Sept. 28 at O’Brien Field.

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

Murray State narrowly beat Eastern for the second year in a row Saturday when the Panthers came up just inches short of a score as time expired in a 24-17 loss. 

Eastern had first and goal at the Murray State five-yard line, trailing by seven points with the game clock ticking down its final seconds. 

Quarterback Harry Woodbery completed a pass to receiver Dwayne Cooks Jr., but Cooks was brought down at the one-yard line, inches from scoring, as the game clock expired, leaving Eastern ever-so-close to its first win of the season. 

But, Cooks was short of a score and Eastern had to watch again as the Racers celebrated another nail-biting win over Eastern, dropping the Panthers to 0-6 this season.

Murray State beat Eastern 48-41 last season, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 26 seconds to play; the Panthers tried to return the favor Saturday, but instead are left still hunting for a win. 

Eastern’s offense showed some signs of life in the loss, but still left things to be desired. 

The unit’s struggles this season have been no secret, but Eastern has shown signs of improvement in its last two losses. Eastern put up 302 yards of offense Saturday but still managed to gain just four yards per play. 

Woodbery completed 30 passes on 49 attempts for 231 yards and one touchdown, and running back Jaelin Benefield ran the ball 14 times for just 32 yards. 

Both of those figures illustrate the Panthers’ season-long inability to pick up yards in large, or even medium quantities for that matter, and once again that problem came to life Saturday.

Murray State on the other hand spent the game moving the ball in the way Eastern would have liked to, led by quarterback Preston Rice who finished the game with three passing touchdowns. 

The Racers totaled 424 yards of offense and averaged 6.5 yards per play. Rice completed 19 passes on 29 attempts for 274 yards.

However, the Racers did what they could to give the Panthers’ chances to turn the game on its head. 

Murray State fumbled the ball five times, four of which were recovered by Eastern. But like has been the case for much of the season, Eastern was not able to turn those turnovers into enough points to win the game. 

Eastern lost to Tennessee Tech and Murray State to open the conference season and, likely, those will be the two easiest conference games Eastern will have this season. 

Eastern hosts Jacksonville State Oct. 12 in a game that will serve as a much tougher challenge than those presented by Tennessee Tech and Murray State. 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]