MURRAY, Ky. (9/17/13) – Maikhail Miller found Walter Powell on a fade in the back of the endzone with just 24 seconds remaining as Murray State completed an improbable comeback with a 41-38 victory over Missouri State Saturday evening at Stewart Stadium.
Trailing by four points with 2:55 showing on the fourth-quarter clock, the Racers got the ball on their own 25-yard line. On the second play, Miller threw an interception, but it was nullified by a roughing the passer penalty. Three-straight Duane Brady covered 27 yards and put the Racers at the Bears 38-yard line.
Runs by Miller and Jaamal Berry gave the Racers a first down on the 15-yard line. Three-straight incompletions saw the Racers facing a 4th-and-10. After a timeout, Miller threw the faded to Powell in the back of the end zone for the game winner.
The Bears (0-3) had one last chance, but John Therrell intercepted the deep pass to seal the victory.
A very sluggish first half for the Racers left MUR trailing 14-6 at the half. The lone Racer points came when Miller found Powell for a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The momentum for the game made a drastic change on the final play of the first half and the first play of the second half. With the ball on the one-yard line with one second remaining, the Bears decided to go for the touchdown instead of the field goal. Brandon Wicks made sure the runner did not reach the endzone, ending the half.
The second half started with Powell taking the opening kickoff 98 yards for the touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown in the All-American’s career.
The Racer (2-1) defense forced a punt on the Bears first possession of the half, and the offense quickly found the endzone. Brady picked up 16 yards on two carries, before Miller found Janawski Davis for a 52-yard touchdown, the first of his career, to give the Racers their first lead of the game at 19-14.
The Bears drove down the field to regain the lead, but the duo of Miller and Powell hooked up again on a 66-yard touchdown strike midway through the third quarter.
MSU closed out the scoring in the third quarter with a 35-yard field goal from Austin Witmer, before Vernon Scott scored from three-yards out to give the Bears a 31-26 advantage.
The game was just getting excited at that point as the Racers drove down the field again, but found themselves facing a 4th-and-goal at the four yard line. After a timeout, head coach Chris Hatcher reached into his bag of tricks and went with the double-reverse pass that ended with Miller and Powell hooking up on the four-yard score. Hatcher was not done there as he ran another trick play on the two-point conversion, with Jordan Morrow scoring around the left end.
The Bears forced the Racers to need the last-second drive as Kierra Harris scored from nine-yards out on a quarterback run.
Powell finished the day with 11 catches for 155 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. He also added 151 yards in kickoff returns and finished with a career-best 306 all-purpose yards.
Miller also shined in front of the home crowd by going 24-for-33 for 272 yards and five touchdowns.
The defense was led by Chavez Sims and his team-best 13 tackles. He also added two tackles-for-loss and a sack. Brandon Wicks added 12 tackles and Perry Cooper added 11.
The Racers return to action Sept. 28 as they travel to face Bowling Green. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Information provided by John Brush (Murray State University)
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