If you think Murray State is showing up at Sanford Stadium to collect a half-million dollar pay check for playing Georgia, you’d only be half right.
The Racers, coached by former Valdosta State QB and Kirby Smart recruit Mitch Stewart, also aim to make Georgia bleed.
“The fact of the matter is once we run out on the field and that door closes to the locker room, you’re in the ring, for 30 dang minutes until you get back at halftime, you’re there,” Stewart said at his press conference.
“There ain’t no turning back. We’re not going to back down. We’re not going to play scared…. offensively and defensively we’re going to attack. We’re going to play football the way that we want to play it.”
Murray State is an FCS school bringing just 63 scholarship players to Sanford Stadium. The Racers will take the field for the 4 p.m. kickoff (TV: ESPN2) as a seven-touchdown underdog.
But Stewart made it clear his football program is going to earn that $550,000 paycheck and give Georgia all it wants.
Smart talked about the Bulldogs playing in relentless fashion and to the “Georgia Standard” on Saturday.
But Stewart made it clear the Racers have their own standard, and they will not be outdone in the energy and effort category.
“We’re going to be the harder playing team that day,” Stewart said. “Will we get bruised up and bloodied? Absolutely, but we’ve got to make sure they are too, and that was our message to the team.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who believe they should have got recruited by a big school like that coming out of high school, so now it’s their opportunity to show that on a big stage, and it’s going to be a lot of fun watching our guys do that.”
Stewart promised fans will see 60 minutes of great effort from his Racers, which would be unlike last season’s UA opener, when Austin Peay begged out of playing the final five minutes of a 45-0 loss.
“If we have to go more than 60 game minutes, we’ll go more than 60 game minutes as well,” Stewart said, “but one thing I’m going to make sure Coach Smart has to come across that field shake my hand and say, ‘Boy, your kids played hard today.”
And from the sounds of it, the Murray State players will be intent on making sure Georgia’s players know they were in a football game.
“In every fight, if you look at a boxing match, right, the winner of that boxing match is always bloody, he’s always got cuts on his face, you really can’t tell if he was the winner or loser until you see the other guy,” Stewart said. “So we’ve got to go into it understanding we’re going to be put into some uncomfortable situations. There’s going to be a lot of times where we’re going to feel like we just stuck our head into a hornet’s nest and things are moving very, very fast.
“We’ve got to trust our technique, trust our fundamentals and trust one another to put the effort forth to settle down in that moment,” Stewart said, “And understand, ‘yes I’m uncomfortable, yes I’m hurting, yes I’m bleeding, but they are too,’ and we have to make sure that they are too, and we have to try to take the fight to them.”
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