The spring FCS season has plenty of great storylines. Perhaps the best ones are the 5-0 starts by Murray State and VMI, two programs that struggled throughout the 2010s.
Neither team has been a part of the national FCS picture in recent memory. VMI has never made the playoffs. With a win Saturday against ETSU, the Keydets can secure the SoCon’s auto-bid and its first SoCon championship since 1977.
The last postseason appearance for Murray State was 2002. The Racers hold sole possession of first place in the OVC, but their last two games are at Austin Peay and versus Jacksonville State, two teams still in the playoff hunt.
VMI is playing like a team of destiny right now. For the first time since 1960, the Keydets are 5-0. They are guaranteed to have their first winning season since 1981.
After going a combined 1-21 in 2017 and 2018, VMI made big strides in 2019 with a 5-7 finish thanks in part to the play of standout quarterback Reece Udinski. Despite grad transferring to FBS Maryland for the fall of 2021, Udinski decided to play this spring season. On March 20, Udinski went down with a knee injury. But he returned to the game and led VMI to a 38-37 overtime win against Samford.
It turns out that injury was a serious one and a season-ender.
The next week, redshirt freshman QB Seth Morgan stepped in and went 25-of-34 passing for 375 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions as VMI defeated Wofford 36-31 in comeback fashion.
The Keydets are ranked No. 10 in this week’s Stats Perform Top 25.
Murray State is also guaranteed a winning season, its first since 2011.
The Racers have scored 36, 35, and 41 points in their last three games. They have a balanced attack, averaging 162.8 rushing yards per game and 151.0 passing yards a game.
Freshman Damonta Witherspoon has emerged as the top running back with 379 yards and four touchdowns. QB Preston Rice is in his second year starting and has thrown for six touchdowns while rushing for four.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Murray State made the FCS playoffs. The Racers are knocking on the door but take on the second and third-place teams to finish off the regular season.
Murray State is ranked No. 14 in this week’s poll.