Georgia vs. Murray State: Racers To Watch

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Georgia vs. Murray State: Racers To Watch

 RODNEY CASTILLE 
Photo: Murray State Athletics
RODNEY CASTILLE
Photo: Murray State Athletics

RODNEY CASTILLE (RB, #18)

When the Murray State offense isn’t filling the air with passes, it will be handing the ball off to junior running back Castille (5-11, 189). Castille is the Racers’ leading returning rusher, having zipped for 471 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018 while also catching passes for 156 yards and another score. The Bulldogs’ defensive front can’t allow the Racers to establish a ground attack Saturday; thus, the importance of limiting Castille to modest rushing totals.

KENDRICK CATIS (LB, #6)

And when the Georgia offense takes the field, it will have to account for Catis, a 6-1, 230-pound senior. Catis, expected to be one of the top inside linebackers in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, was the Racers’ second-leading tackler last fall with his 74 stops, which included 5.5 tackles-for-loss. The Bulldogs’ talented offensive front will have to keep Catis from penetrating into the Georgia backfield Saturday afternoon.

  ANTHONY KOCLANAKIS 
 Photo: Murray State Athletics
ANTHONY KOCLANAKIS
Photo: Murray State Athletics

ANTHONY KOCLANAKIS (LB, #47)

Catis’s running mate at linebacker, the 6-1, 226-pound Koclanakis is also a disruptor of opposing offenses for Murray State. In his sophomore campaign last season, Koclanakis recorded 66 tackles, had four tackles-for-loss and also managed two pass interceptions. In other words, wherever the football goes, that’s where this hard-hitting ‘backer goes. As is the case with Kendrick Catis, the Bulldogs’ offense will have to account for Anthony Koclanakis this weekend.

STEVE DAWSON (P, #43)

Dawson, who came to Murray State from Australia to punt for the Racers after the former graduate kicker transferred to Georgia, was one of three special team players to make All-OVC first team last season. One of those was talented receiver/kick returner Malik Honeycutt who will be sidelined for much of the season. Averaging an OVC-leading 42.1 yards a kick in his first season of playing football, Dawson was named 2nd team freshman All-America by Phil Steele. The 6-0, 200-pound Dawson is surely capable of pinning the Bulldogs deep in their own territory on Saturday.

Murray State’s most famous athletic alum is basketball great Popeye Jones, a two-time OVC Player of the Year.

In 1995 and 1996, Murray State won back to back OVC championships with a combined overall 22-3 mark and 16-0 league record.

The Racers have an impressive list of former head coaches, including Frank Beamer, Mike Gottfried, and Houston Nutt.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.