Game #9-060: Murray State vs. Auburn TigersNovember 15, 2012 8:00 pm
After three games earlier in the day, it was finally time for the 8 PM nightcap of the day with Murray State taking on Auburn. Of the four games on the first day of the Charleston Classic, this was the one I was looking forward to the most. Initially Southern Illinois was going to be in the tournament instead, but Murray State replaced them when new SIU coach Barry Hinson decided to decline a MTE appearance for this upcoming season as he began to rebuild the program. I would have preferred to see SIU, as this would have been an event me and my dad (a SIU alum) could have enjoyed together. But Murray State would give the Charleston Classic a top-notch mid-major to challenge the BCS teams in the field. And after last year where Murray State was criticized for their strength of schedule despite not losing a game until midway through OVC play, they needed opportunities to be able to beat a BCS team. And I also have a family connection to Murray State, as my aunt graduated from MSU and met her husband there. They now live in Huntsville, Alabama with their 11-year old son who has grown up a big Auburn fan, the Racers' opponent tonight. This game would give me something to talk about with them at Christmas this year.
The game would also allow the fantasy player of Jen Folds Five, Isaiah Canaan, to show his stuff on ESPNU against a SEC opponent. Early in the game, it was Canaan's young teammates that showed they were capable of keeping Murray State as one of the top teams below the Red Line. The Racers raced out to an 11-2 lead at the first media timeout. And that was before Canaan got going. Canaan came alive just over midway through the first half and slaughtered the Tigers with his quick shooting to get Murray on a 16-1 run to take the game over. The Murray fans who outnumbered the Auburn fans (although not by as much as Dayton did in the first game
) loved it as their Ohio Valley team kept pouring it on against a big SEC team. Aside from one flustered Auburn fan, most of the noise at TD Arena was coming from Racer fans.