Behind 4 touchdowns from redshirt junior quarterback Lawson Page and 4 forced turnovers, Morehead State football notched a 29-26 come-from-behind victory over Stetson while celebrating Homecoming weekend on Saturday afternoon at Jayne Stadium.
The Eagles advance to 3-5 on the season, with a 2-3 mark in the Pioneer Football League. Stetson falls to 1-4 in the conference, amassing an overall record of 2-6.
Morehead State took its opening drive 41 yards for a Page touchdown pass to Nathan Sames, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead. Stetson's Bryce Blackmon fumbled the ensuing kickoff, allowing Sames to recover the ball and regain possession for MSU deep in the Hatters' territory.
Starting at the 25-yard line, Morehead State continued to move the ball and ultimately reached the end zone on a 2-yard keeper by Page. Despite giving up a 60-yard return on the next kickoff, the Eagles ended the first quarter with a 14-0 advantage.
Stetson needed only one play in the second quarter to get on the scoreboard, connecting on a Colin McGovern pass to Gordon Stetson for 9 yards. After a Morehead State punt, the Hatters scored once more by way of a 27-yard field goal. Page threw 26 yards to Landon Hurst for a second touchdown through the air, bringing the halftime score to 21-10 in favor of the Eagles.
"We did some nice things, and we felt like we had a good plan today," said MSU head coach Rob Tenyer. "Getting that first turnover and going up 14-0 was huge. As you saw, we kind of treaded water there in the third and fourth quarters."
Morehead State received the ball to start the second half, but saw a pass from Page intercepted 31 yards for a touchdown by Stetson's Eddie Curry. SU kicker Jonny Messina nailed his second field goal of the day from 24 yards out, narrowing the Morehead State lead to 21-20 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, Stetson strung together a 52-yard drive over the course of seven plays that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Blackmon and the Hatters' first lead of the day. With only 3:20 remaining, Morehead State pushed the ball back down the field to set up a first-and-10 situation on the Stetson 15-yard line.
Coming out of the timeout, Page found Hurst down the right sideline for a touchdown reception in a dive past the pylon. The Eagles tacked on a 2-point conversion for good measure, handing the ball back to Stetson with only 24 ticks on the scoreboard. The Hatters' last-ditch lateral effort in the game's final seconds ended in a fumble recovered by Morehead State's Nick Flores.
Page concluded his day with 221 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception on 25-for-34 passing. He also rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground, eclipsing the century mark for the first time in his career.
Hurst grabbed 7 catches for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Sames added 3 receptions for 31 yards and a score of his own.
The Morehead State defense held Stetson to just 85 yards rushing, logging 2 interceptions and a recovered fumble. Cornerback Brandyn Duncan recorded 5 tackles and a pick, complemented by 2 tackles and an interception from Chauncey Johns.
"I thought our defense played outstanding today," Tenyer said. "Stetson really presented some problems for us matchup-wise on both sides of the ball. We were able to fight in the end and a get a win."
Morehead State returns to action next week, taking on Valparaiso (3-4, 2-2 PFL) on the road at 2 p.m. ET.