MOREHEAD, Ky. — With three non-conference games under its belt, the Morehead State football program will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., this weekend to kick off Pioneer Football League action. The Eagles will face Butler at 1 p.m. ET.
Both teams are coming off a bye week. The Bulldogs are 2-1 with a victory over then No. 24 Youngstown State. Their last action, however, ended in a 50-7 home loss to Princeton. Morehead State is 1-2 with both setbacks coming to Ohio Valley Conference opponents.
The game will be carried by Facebook Live on Butler’s page. Fans can listen to the action on the Eagle Sports Radio Network (WIVY-96.3 FM, WMST-106.9 FM and 1150 AM) and on MSUEagles.com.
QUOTING COACH TENYER
On what the bye week meant for his team
“It came at a good time. We needed it physically because we’ve played a pretty demanding non-conference schedule so far. We got some time to rest, and then we really went back to basics. We had some things we felt we really needed to go back and refocus on in all three phases, offense, defense and the kicking game.”
On how playing two OVC full scholarship teams will help his team in the future
“I hope we take some lessons from those contests. I think we played with good effort and consistency in those games, and we hope that translates when we get into conference play.”
On having eight straight PFL games now
“Take it one week at a time. There is so much parity in the PFL. You have to show up and compete every week, and you have to take advantage of your time and your three days of preparation. We have to really be knowledgeable of our opponent going into that contest for that week.”
THE SERIES WITH BUTLER
MSU leads the all-time series 14-7. Morehead State’s series with Butler goes back to 1963 when the Eagles defeated the Bulldogs 31-13 at home. The teams played again in Morehead the next season and then did not meet again until 1998. The programs have met every season (except 2003) since 2001 when the Eagles joined the Pioneer League. Since 2001 MSU holds a 9-7 advantage over Butler. MSU has a 5-4 all-time mark in games at Butler.
Morehead State owns a 7-10 mark in Pioneer League openers. The Eagles defeated Dayton 34-28 in last season’s PFL lid-lifter. Butler has only served as the opponent in the conference opener once, and that was the very first official PFL game, a 29-27 MSU setback in Indianapolis in 2001.
Morehead State’s 422 rushing yards on Sep. 8 against Mount St. Joseph were the most team rushing yards since setting the school record with 478 against Austin Peay in 2000. Below is a look at recent top-five team rushing efforts.
Year Opponent Yards
2012 Valparaiso 348
history to eclipse 3,000 career passing yards. He enters the weekend with 3,151 yards and 25 passing scores. He also has scored 12 times on the ground, including seven in 2016 when he was the Eagles’ “wildcat” formation QB.
HARD TO CONTAIN HIM
Lawson Page ranks second among PFL quarterbacks in rushing yards per outing. Page leads the team with 75.3 yards per game.
TAKING IT TO THE HOUSE
Redshirt sophomore Aaron Turk’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Austin Peay was the second longest kick return for a score in program history and the first kick taken “to the house” since Brandon Bornhauser scooped up on onside kick and scored against Pikeville in 2014. Turk leads the PFL with 28.2 yards per return and ranks 13th nationally, and the Eagles lead the PFL in kickoff returns.
RED ZONE SUCCESS
In the opening three games, Morehead State has reached the red zone on offense 14 times and scored 13 times, all but one being touchdowns. That’s a 93 percent success rate in getting points on the board in the red zone.
TOTING THE BALL
Redshirt freshman running back Jovan Smith is only averaging about 10 carries per game but leads a large stable of running backs with 188 yards. He posted his first 100-yard game against Mount St. Joseph with 104.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Linebacker Kordell Brown leads the defense with 19 tackles, but 11 players have reached double-digit tackles in the first three games combined.
BOOMING THE BALL
Sophomore punter/kicker Andrew Foster crushed a 71-yard punt, his only punt of the game, against Mount St. Joseph. According to research it’s the longest Morehead State punt since Greg Burke nailed a 73-yarder in 1987. Foster’s boomer is also the third longest punt in program history, behind Burke’s and Don Rardin’s school-record 78-yard blast in 1975. Foster leads the entire PFL with a 44.1-yard punt average with four 50+ yard punts.
TOP 10 LEG
Andrew Foster ranks ninth in all of FCS football in punting average. He is only 3.8 yards-per-punt off the national lead.
EXPERIENCE UP FRONT
PUTTING UP POINTS