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Byrd Sets Four Program Records and Football Pulls Off Senior Day Rally to Win 36-35

MSU Athletics

Senior wide receiver BJ Byrd made his and more than 20 other seniors' final home game a most memorable one Saturday. Byrd set four program single season or single-game records and hauled in the game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds left as the Morehead State football team rallied in the fourth quarter to hand Stetson a 36-35 defeat at Jayne Stadium.

Byrd caught 12 passes today for 223 yards and a school-record four scores. He also set the program single-season records for yardage (1,214), catches (85) and TDs (13) in addition to setting the single-game TDs mark for Morehead State. His yardage total today was a career high, his FCS-leading eighth 100+-yard game, and was just eight yards shy of his fifth record - single-game yards.

Trailing 35-24 with a little more than five minutes left in the game after a Stetson score, senior return man Ian Holder raced back 66 yards on a kickoff return to set up the Eagles at the 19-yard line. Five plays later, senior running back Issiah Aguero plunged in on the the wildcat play from a yard way. The two-point pass failed, making it 35-30.

The Eagles held Stetson to a three-and-out. Gaining possession on their own seven-yard line with just 2:44 remaining, quarterback Mark Pappas went to work. He connected with Byrd on a 44-yard toss that Byrd needed all his body to stretch out and haul in. On a third-and-five from the 160-yard line, Pappas found receiver Michael Armour down to the three-yard line. The next pass went for a one-yard loss, but then Pappas saw Byrd in the corner of the end zone, and the Jacksonville transfer leaped over his defender for the go-ahead score. The two-point failed again, but the Eagle defense held Stetson on its side of the 50 to seal the win.

Morehead State's victory assured it of its second consecutive winning record at 6-4 right now. It's the first back-to-back above .500 seasons since 2002 and 2003.

In a contest that featured more than 1,000 total yards combined, MSU had 514, including 395 from Pappas. Although he threw three interceptions, Pappas finished with 395 yards and the four scores. He went over 3,000 yards for the season, just the third QB in program history to eclipse 3,000 for a season.

Defensively, linebacker Vincent Winey made 3.5 tackles in the backfield and had a team-high 13 stops, while back Cooper Krezek made 12 tackles. Defensive rusher Vaughn Taylor kept up his FCS lead in tackles for loss with two more and giving him 21.5 for the year. He also had another sack to give him 8.5 for the year.

Senior linebacker Cameron Barrett had a bg day as well with two interceptions, while safety Khiyree Keith picked off his fourth pass of the year to halt a drive deep into MSU territory on a long bomb from Stetson QB Alex Piccirilli.

On top of his TD, Aguero piled up 74 rushing yards.

MSU finishes off the 2021 season at Valparaiso next Saturday. The Eagles and Beacons kick off at 2 p.m. ET in Indiana.

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