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Brockman, Harris lead Racers’ comeback bid

Brockman, Harris lead Racers’ comeback bid

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:03 pm

Murray State quarterback Casey Brockman hit wide receiver Hannibal Beauford for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:26 remaining in the game to give the Racers the lead for good in a thrilling 36-27 come-from-behind victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday afternoon at Stewart Stadium.
It marked the second-straight year the Racers overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half on Homecoming.
Trailing by three points with 3:06 showing on the clock and the Racers on their own 25 yard line, Brockman found Walter Powell and Nevar Griffin on back-to-back plays covering 14 and 16 yards, respectively.
Following a Mike Harris eight-yard run, Brockman found Ja-Vonta Trotter over the middle for 18 yards down to the 16. On the next play, the EIU defense jumped offside and Brockman went for the endzone and Beauford came down with the game winning. The extra-point hit the left upright. 
On the Panthers next possession, junior defensive end Kevin Robinson sacked quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and forced a fumble. Robinson quickly pounced on the ball to give it back to the Racers.
The Racers (4-3, 2-2 OVC) ran the ball three times and were faced with a 4th-and-11. Harris took the handoff and ran through would-be tacklers on his way to a 24-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with less than a second remaining. MSU just took a knee on the extra point to ensure the victory.
MSU jumped out to the early lead as Harris through a 31-yard pass to Powell on the first possession, and then capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. 
The Panthers (1-6, 0-5), who host UT Martin this week, answered back as Garoppolo threw a 36-yard touchdown to Chris Wright and followed it up with a 59-yarder to Wright in the second quarter. On the second EIU touchdown, Jeremy Brackett broke through the middle and blocked the extra point.
The Racers regained the lead late in the half as Harris capped a five-play drive with a 22-yard touchdown burst up the middle.  EIU had yet another answer as Jake Walker scored from one-yard out with 37 seconds left in the half. The first-half scoring didn’t end there as the Racers took over on the Panther 45-yard line and were able to drive and get a 39-yard field goal off the foot of Kienan Cullen.
The field goal was the 50th in the career of Cullen, making him the all-time leader in MSU history. He is also tied for second in OVC history, and needs only two more field goals to tie the OVC record.
The Panthers pushed the lead to double digits in the third quarter as an 11-play drive was capped with a four-yard run from Walker.
There was no panic for the Racers as they responded with one of their longest drives in recent history as they used 17 plays to march 80 yards, eating up 5:50 on the clock.
MSU faced a 3rd-and-9 at their own 44 before Brockman found Dexter Barnett for the first down.
Facing another 3rd-and-13, Brockman found Trotter over the middle for 18 yards and another first down.
Harris rushed for a pair of first downs before Brockman hit Walter Powell for eight yards to set up a first-and-goal situation. Harris went up the middle for seven yards, and then pushed his way in from two-yards out.
Harris finished the game by rushing 30 times for 133 yards and four touchdowns. He becomes the ninth Racer running back to rush for four touchdowns in a game, and the first since Stevie Chaney against Austin Peay in 2005. He also completed a pass for 31 yards on the opening drive.
Brockman, crowned Homecoming King before the game, went 23-for-36 for 207 yards and a touchdown. He connected with six different receivers with Trotter leading the way with seven grabs for 91 yards.
Published in The WCP 10.18.11

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