WICHITA FALLS, Texas – McMurry University’s football team will take on another Lone Star Conference foe, when it travels to Midwestern State University on Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium. The War Hawks will carry a 1-4 record into the contest versus the Mustangs, 3-1, who are ranked No. 25 in the nation in the most recent NCAA Division II AFCA Coaches Poll.
This will be the 21st meeting between McM and MSU in football, with the Mustangs holding a slight edge in the series, 10-9-1. The first-ever meeting was in 1924 (a 14-13 McM victory).
These teams last met on the gridiron in 1994. In that last meeting, Midwestern scored a 20-14 victory at McMurry, played at then, Indian Stadium.
Midwestern State lost a tough game in its season-opener to Tarleton State (currently ranked tied for No. 21 in the latest AFCA NCAA II Coaches Poll), 27-24, but has reeled off three-consecutive wins since: at West Georgia (38-28), at Texas A&M-Commerce (30-24) and at home versus Texas A&M-Kingsville (43-10).
McMurry, after starting out its season with losses to a pair of NCAA I FCS foes and to one LSC team, was finally able to hand head coach Mason Miller his first collegiate coaching victory on September 28, with its 53-27 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State. Last week, McM lost its Homecoming bout versus another LSC for, Angelo State, 48-35.
The lone common opponent thus far in 2013 between McMurry and Midwestern State is Texas A&M-Kingsville. McM lost at Kingsville, 52-32, and MSU got a 43-10 win over the Javelinas in Wichita Falls.
In its most recent game, Midwestern State ran off the final 23 points to roll away with a 43-10 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville last Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Mustangs’ third consecutive win moved the team to 3-1 on the season and to 2-1 in league play. MSU turned four Javelinas’ turnovers into 20 points while limiting the TAMUK offense to 186 total yards and just 47 in the decisive second half.
Conversely, McMurry University renewed its rivalry with Angelo State (after a 42-year hiatus in the series) and suffered a tough 48-35 loss in its Homecoming game at Wilford Moore Stadium. Quarterback Gabe Rodriguez completed 22-of-46 passes for 257 yards on the night and four TDs.
Paxton Grayer handled matters on the ground with 107 yards (in all, McM had 211 rushing yards). Grayer’s 107 rushing yards was his second 100-plus yard rushing game of the season (he ran for 137 yards in the season-opener at NCAA Division I FCS for Abilene Christian) and was the fourth 100-plus yard rushing game of his career, also posting two “century” games as a freshman in 2012 against Wayland Baptist (119 yards) and a career-rushing high game versus Southern Nazarene (158 yards).
On the year, Chris Smith (345 yards) and Grayer (341 yards) top the McM ground game.
Jeret Smith had five catches for 129 yards and one touchdown versus ASU. Greg Livingston had five grabs for 60 yards and the two scores in last week’s loss.
Defensively on the year, Desmond Guy has a team-leading 48 tackles. Last week, Guy notched his fourth double-digit tackle total of the season with a team-high 11 stops versus the Rams.
Jonathan Blair is close behind in total tackles with 44, after registering nine tackles against ASU last Saturday.
The game at MSU can be heard live locally on KSLI 1280 AM and world-wide, via the internet, through links found at mcmurrysports.com. The pre-game show begins at 6:45 p.m. with Kit Kimbrell and David Bacon calling the action.