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MSU Sports

Ground Game and Defense Power Football to Third Straight PFL Victory

MSU Athletics

Powered by the first game with two 100-yard rushers since 2017, a season-high rushing total, and only 189 yards allowed by the defense, Morehead State football raced past Butler 31-8 for a Homecoming victory at Jayne Stadium Saturday.

MSU ran its Pioneer League mark to 3-0 for the first time since 2013 as running backs Earl Stoudemire (career-high 148 yards) and Issiah Aguero (107 yards and a touchdown) both churned out macho-man totals on the ground. Add in a career-high 55 and a score from fellow back Chance Harris, and MSU produced 323 rushing yards, the most since gaining more than 400 against Mt. St. Joseph in 2018.

It was also the first time since the 2019 finale against Stetson that the Eagles produced more rushing yards than passing yards.

Quarterback Mark Pappas also threw for two touchdowns, both to wideout BJ Byrd, and 223 yards. He moved to sixth place in career passing yards at MSU with 5,649. Despite also being victimized with four interceptions, he passed former greats Phil Simms and David Dinkins on the program's career passing yardage list.

Byrd hauled in nine more passes for 121 yards and the two scores, his fourth 100-yard game in the fall.

Defensively the Eagles held Butler to only two of 13 on third downs, while also forcing two QBs to complete only three passes for 41 yards.

Defensive end Vaughn Taylor, Jr., who leads the FCS in tackles for loss, had 2.5 more today and had 1.5 sacks along his team-high eight stops. Defensive back Khiyree Keith collected his second interception in as many games, picking off a Butler pass in the Eagles end zone.

A quiet first half ended with a 10-0 Eagle lead. Aguero punched in a two-yard score on the first play of the second quarter, and kicker Andrew Foster booted home a 32-yard field as time expired for the half.

The home team went on top 24-0 late in the third frame as Byrd connected with Pappas for a 16-yard and then a 17-yard touchdown. The shutout was thwarted with 8:48 to go when Joey Suchy found paydirt for Butler on a two-yard plunge across the goal line.

Harris put the finishing touches on the margin of victory with his second career TD, a two-yard jaunt, with 2:19 to play.

The Eagles are on the road next weekend when they travel to upstate New York to face another PFL unbeaten in Marist. Game time is Noon ET next Saturday.

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