MURRAY, Ky. – Jesse Blackburn caught a26-yard touchdown pass in overtime to lift host Murray State to a 34-27 win over the Eastern Kentucky University football team Saturday afternoon at Stewart Stadium.
The Colonels (6-6, 4-4 OVC) conclude the regular season with three straight losses while Murray State (6-6, 4-4) broke an eight-game losing streak to EKU.
The game featured contrasting styles of offense as the Racers passed for 467 yards and Eastern Kentucky piled up 311 rushing yards.
Eastern Kentucky took a 20-14 lead into intermission, but was forced to punt on its first five possessions of the second half. The Racers went ahead 21-20 early in the third quarter when Blackburn caught a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Maikhail Miller.
Murray State added a pair of field goals to extend its cushion to 27-20 with 4:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Colonels were able to force overtime by taking their final possession of regulation 64 yards for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Jared McClain keyed the drive with a 39-yard scramble down to the MSU 12-yard line. Redshirt freshman Thomas Owens capped the drive with a one-yard scoring run with only 46 seconds showing on the clock.
In overtime, Murray State capitalized on a trick play for the winning score. Facing 3rd-and-11 from the 26-yard line, the Racers handed the ball off twice on a reverse before pitching the ball back to Miller. The quarterback then tossed the ball to Blackburn behind the EKU defense in the end zone.
Eastern had a chance to score the equalizer, but Murray State held the Colonels on a 4th-and-goal play at the one-yard line. McClain attempted a quarterback draw on the final play from the two-yard line only to come up one yard short.
Miller threw for a career-high 467 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Blackburn tallied nine receptions for 170 yards and two scores.
For the Colonels, Owens ran for a season-best 117 yards on 20 carries. Owens scored on a 20-yard and one-yard run.
--Eastern Kentucky was +4 in turnover margin, but only scored six points off Murray State’s four turnovers.
--The Colonels turned the ball over on downs at the Murray State one-yard line midway through the first quarter after not being able to score on two plays from the one-yard line.
--Redshirt freshman Kyle Romano made his first collegiate start at quarterback only to leave the game after suffering an injury in the first quarter.
--Junior defensive back Brandon Stanley posted a career-best 15 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery.